Outcomes of Seychellois President’s visit to Kuwait. Dynamic Cooperation expected

Posted in Foreign investments, International relations, Seychelles government at 11:44 pm by Robert Klien

The visit of Seychellois President James Michel to Kuwait has been discussed previously.

As to the outcomes of the 2-day visit to Kuwait, Michel said that the visit has opened up space for a dynamic cooperation between the 2 countries.

It has been described previously that after a final round of negotiations held in February 2007, Seychelles and Kuwait are expected to sign the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTA). However, according to the Seychellois President, besides the signing of a DTA between the 2 countries, work on a Protection Investment Agreement has started to reinforce the protection that investors seek when investing in a country.

Also, the possibility for Kuwait Airlines to fly to Seychelles was announced by the President. He said that it was discussed and that a bilateral air services agreement should be signed soon in order to allow for this.

There were also discussions on the possibility to make available a line of credit for Seychelles aimed at importing fuel from Kuwait.

According to President Michel, his visit to Kuwait at the invitation of the Amir of the Gulf State, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was an opportunity not only to reinforce personal ties with the leader of Kuwait, but also to reinforce friendly ties between the countries. To remind, a past diverse relationship between Seychelles and Kuwait was interrupted after Kuwait’s invasion by Iraq and the subsequent Gulf War.

The Amir has expressed his desire to strengthen the cooperation and to assist in bringing more investments to Seychelles that would contribute to the economic development of it.

President Michel also mentioned having intense discussions with the Kuwait Investment Authority (talks on the possibility for the Authority to invest in commercial projects in Seychelles), the Kuwait Fund for Development (talks on how it could help in financing infrastructural projects), and the Minister responsible for Oil and Energy (talks on the possibility to make available a line of credit for Seychelles to import fuel from Kuwait).


IMF publishes a statement for Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 3:12 am by Robert Klien

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff mission issued the Statement at the Conclusion of the 2008 Article IV Staff Mission to Seychelles. The statement was issued on January 30, 2008 in Victoria and published on IMF website on February 1, 2008.

The statement says that an IMF team, headed by Mr. Norbert Funke, visited Victoria, Seychelles on January 17-30, 2008 in order to conduct the Article IV consultation discussions with the jurisdiction. The team reviewed economic developments and prospects, as well as discussed the policies to achieve debt sustainability, external stability, and the goals of their “Strategy 2017” with the Seychellois authorities. According to the statement, the mission met with President Michel, the Minister of Finance Danny Faure, the Minister of National Development Jaquelin Dugasse, the Governor of the Seychelles Central Bank Francis Chang Leng, as well as with other government officials, non-government organizations, private sector representatives, and the diplomatic community.

In accordance with the IMF statement, economic growth continued to be robust in the jurisdiction in 2007, at over 5%, which was supported by strong foreign direct investment (FDI), mainly in the tourism sector. The IMF mission concluded the following: “Unemployment is at an historic low. Inflation rose in response to the gradual realignment of the Seychelles rupee, which is aimed at increasing Seychelles’ international competitiveness. Fiscal policy remained expansionary as a result of higher-than-budgeted spending and lower revenues. The current account deficit widened, partly reflecting imports related to record inflows of new foreign direct investment and the purchase of another oil tanker. Growth may ease somewhat in 2008, reflecting high international oil prices, an expected slowdown in global growth, and local capacity constraints. Inflation is likely to remain elevated in the near term, as one-off factors due to price adjustments feed through.”

The IMF mission welcomed the broad-based reform strategy of Seychelles authorities outlined in March 2007 and appreciated the positive steps towards closer relations with multilateral institutions. It noted that the 2008 budget breaks with the past and is an important step in the right direction being targeted at a sizeable primary surplus. It suggested that “a range of structural reforms are set to play an important complementary role in reducing macroeconomic imbalances” that include foreign exchange market liberalization measures, upward revisions of utility prices, and removal of price controls on imports. “The reforms will reduce subsidies to public enterprises, limit budgetary pressures, and improve market signals. The government’s announcement that privatization will continue strengthens the prospects for private sector development.”

In order to put the economy of Seychelles on the path of a strong and sustainable growth for the medium term, the IMF mission found it important to broaden and deepen reform efforts to restore macroeconomic balance and improving competitiveness.

As a conclusion of the statement, the IMF press release pointed out the following: “The IMF stands ready to assist the authorities in refining and implementing their reform program, and looks forward to continuing a close and constructive dialogue.”


Michel presents State-of-the-nation 2008 address

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government at 4:50 am by Robert Klien

Today, on February 12, 2008, Seychellois President James A. Michel will present his 4th State-of-the-Nation address as the President of the jurisdiction.

The President’s address will be presented to the 1st sitting of the National Assembly for the 1st term of 2008, and it will be broadcast live on both the radio and TV. Highlights of the State-of-the-Nation address is expected to be published on the pages of tomorrow’s papers.

To remind, in Seychelles, the State-of-the-Nation address is required by the Constitution and presented at the start of National Assembly sittings for the new year.

After hearing the President’s address at today’s sitting, National Assembly will reconvene on February 15, 2008 to give their views.


Seychellois President visits Kuwait

Posted in Double Taxation Agreements, International relations, Seychelles government at 11:02 pm by Robert Klien

President James A. Michel is currently visiting Kuwait as a result of the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait.

During his stay, President of Seychelles will hold talks with His Highness The Amir, Prime Minister Nassir al-Muhammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, and National Assembly Speaker Jassem Mohammad Al-Kharafi, and meet the representatives of the Kuwait Investment Authority and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

It is worth indicating that Seychelles established diplomatic relations with Kuwait on July 11, 1988. Cooperation between the two countries has been mainly with the Kuwait Fund for Development that has financed the East Coast Fisheries, PUC Electricity Generation Project and the Praslin Sewerage Facilities.

After a final round of negotiations held in February 2007, Seychelles and Kuwait are expected to sign the agreement on double taxation avoidance.


COMESA Workshop on Multilateral Trade Negotiation and Integration held in Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, International relations at 11:52 pm by Robert Klien

The 4-day workshop on multilateral trade negotiation and regional integration opened on January 28, 2008. It is being organized by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a regional organisation promoting economic integration through trade and investment, in conjunction with the Trade Division within the Ministry of Finance of Seychelles.

The workshop was a meeting point of local representatives from different sectors related with trade. It aimed to enhance the understanding and awareness of trade issues as well as to strengthen the skills of trade negotiations and trade policy development.

The workshop on multilateral trade negotiation and regional integration falls within the framework of the COMESA work programme.

The work plan scheduled by COMESA for 2007-2008 has listed national workshops in selected member states that will deliver training and sensitization services to enhance trade policy capacity in the region.

When launching the workshop, Colin Jean Louis, the Legal Advisor in the Ministry of Finance, noted that Seychelles prepares for the 2nd phase of economic partnership negotiation with its regional and global partners.

As to participants of the workshop, these are representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Foreign Affairs, the Seychelles Tourism Board, the Seychelles Fishing Authority, and the Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA).