WTO Accession Protocol ratified in Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, International relations at 2:56 pm by Robert Klien

After approval from the country’s National Assembly, Seychelles’ World Trade Organization (WTO) Accession Protocol was ratified by the jurisdiction’s President.

The protocol ratification took place on March 25, 2015.

After the signing, the President James Michel said that joining the WTO will ensure, “as a small island developing state reliant on open access to trade in goods and services, that the basic needs of our people are met, and that we continue to create opportunities for wealth creation and prosperity.” He added that he is “convinced that WTO accession opens up a new chapter for Seychelles’ development,” and that the country is looking forward to working with the WTO Secretariat in order to develop its private sector, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises. Michel noted that the country will continue to ensure that trade and development are linked, and, through more transparency in international trading rules, that long term investments are secure.

The WTO Director of the Accessions Division, Cheidu Osakwe, highlighted that “accession to the WTO is a commitment to trade integration, and to the core values of the WTO involving the market economy, transparency, good governance, and the rules of law.”

Seychelles originally applied for WTO membership in 1995 and the Working Party concluded its negotiations on October 17, 2014. WTO members adopted Seychelles’ WTO terms of entry at the General Council meeting on December 10, and Seychelles had until June 1 this year to ratify the deal.

As part of the accession negotiations, Seychelles concluded eight bilateral agreements on market access for goods. It has undertaken to “bind” average tariff rates for all products at 9.5%. For agricultural products, this average is 16.9%, while for non-agricultural products the average is 8.3%.


Seychelles Confirms Tax Amnesty

Posted in Business and Economy, Financial Services, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 2:49 pm by Robert Klien

The availability of an amnesty on penalties and interest for businesses that have outstanding tax debts and returns has been confirmed by the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC).

Further to measures to boost tax compliance announced in the 2015 Budget, the Commission has implemented a debt recovery plan. This plan will apply to business tax arrears for tax years up to 2013 (for amounts payable in 2014), and for withholding tax, duties, and all other taxes, for payments due for tax years up to 2014.

To settle their outstanding tax as at December 31, 2014, or to submit outstanding returns, taxpayers have 3 options. The program offers:
a) a 100% waiver of penalties and interest on arrears cleared by May 31, 2015;
b) a 50% waiver of penalties and interest on arrears cleared by August 31, 2015;
c) a 25% waiver of penalties and interest on arrears cleared by October 31, 2015.

The Seychelles Revenue Commission is urging taxpayers to take advantage of the amnesty and settle their tax liabilities.

In order to complement the arrangements, there will also be a more aggressive stance on debt collection.


Seychelles and India to cooperate in maritime security and anti-piracy

Posted in Business and Economy, Diplomatic missions, International relations at 5:36 am by Robert Klien

During his visit to Seychelles, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun discussions with Seychelles President James Michel for both countries to engage in maritime security, with a focus on greater cooperation with respect to anti-piracy measures.

Indian Ministry of External affairs official spokesperson said: “Prime Minister Modi begins his visit to the Indian Ocean island nations with discussions with the President of Seychelles. A substantive element of their discussions is ‘Blue Economy’. India and Seychelles are also working on maritime security, better cooperation in anti-piracy measures and are engaged in working towards renewable energy”. He added that India has a strong and historical connection with Seychelles and other Indian Ocean islands nations, and, in recent times, new elements have been added to these connections. He emphasized that the maritime neighbours need to meet, interact and cooperate.

Indian-Seychellois relations have been characterized by close cooperation and understanding. For example, an Indian naval ship, the INS Tarasa, was gifted to Seychelles in 2014 to augment surveillance and patrolling capacity of Seychelles waters. Several Indian ships have since made port calls in Victoria.

In 2009, on the request of Seychelles, India dispatched naval ships to patrol its exclusive economic zone and guard it against piracy. India has also helped Seychelles’ armed forces in capacity building.

During the Indian presidential visit to Seychelles in 2012, India announced USDS 50 million as Line of Credit and USD 25 million as grant to the Government of Seychelles. Indian assistance has also flowed since the 1980’s under ITEC programme in civilian defense and other fields.

It is worth remembering that indians are about 1/10 of Seychelles’ 91,000 population.


Seychelles inflation rises to 3.7% in February

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles' statistics at 5:40 am by Robert Klien

Seychelles year-on-year inflation rose to 3.7% in February from 2.9% in January, according to the official data.

On a month-on-month basis, the inflation rate in the Indian Ocean archipelago was 0.6%, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.


Indian Prime Minister to visit Seychelles

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, Diplomatic missions, International relations, Seychelles government at 5:27 am by Robert Klien

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to visit Seychelles as a part of a major move to India’s neighourhood outreach in the Indian Ocean region.

Modi will be on a 5-day visit to the 3 key island nations – Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. The trip will start on March 10.

In Seychelles, the first stop of his tour, Modi will hold bilateral discussions with President James Alexis Michel. The meeting will be aimed at strengthening maritime ties as well as enhancing bilateral development cooperation.

During the visit, 3 agreements are to be signed between Seychelles and India.

It should be noted that Modi will be the 2nd Indian prime minister to visit Seychelles after Indira Gandhi’s visit in 1981.

The cooperation of India and Seychelles is mainly in the field of health, education, defence and maritime security.

India recently gave a patrol ship to Seychelles, a 115-island country located 1,500 km east of Southeast Africa. The patrol ship was for the Seychelles Coast Guard to better patrol its extensive Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Both jurisdictions are likely to sign an agreement to strengthen the energy sector of the Seychelles.