Seychelles FATCA Reporting Portal Launched

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles infrastructure at 1:07 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) has announced that the system enabling financial institutions to report information about their American clients under the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was launched on July 31, 2015. However, it is not yet possible for FIS s to upload the necessary data.

In an earlier circular dated April 2015, the SRC informed FIs that they will be required to transmit financial account information to the US Internal Revenue Service by September 30, 2015. Therefore, affected financial institutions were to report financial account information by no later than June 30, 2015, in the form of a data file compiled in accordance with FATCA XML v1.1 schema.

To address situations where foreign law would prevent an FFI from complying with the terms of an FFI agreement, the US Treasury Department has developed 3 model intergovernmental agreements (IGAs). The Seychelles has signed a Model 1 IGA, under which FIs report tax information about US account holders directly to the local revenue authority, then the information will in turn relay to the IRS.


Abu Dhabi to build new airport in Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government, Seychelles infrastructure, Tourism industry at 10:42 am by Robert Klien

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) is close to finalising the investment into building a new airport in the Seychelles capital, according to Seychelles president James Alix Michel.

He said that the negotiations with ADAC to construct a new airport in Victoria near the existing airport are in the process and it is expected to reach agreement on this important economic and tourism project on an investment basis soon. The president expressed his expectations that this project could largely boost airport traffic and the number of tourists to our country.

The Seychelles and Abu Dhabi have a close relationship, with the latter providing $55 million in financial aid in the past decade and Etihad Airways bought a 40% stake in state carrier Air Seychelles in 2012, which has helped the airline to record profits for the past 3 years.

The country also is working with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala in the oil sector, along with other companies from Japan, Australia and Latin America, and the UAE’s Masdar recently launched a wind energy unit in Victoria port with a capacity of six MW, the first of its kind in Seychelles.


Seychelles and Qingdao promoting mutual trade and investment

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, Double Taxation Agreements, Financial Services, Foreign investments, International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles infrastructure, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 1:16 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles and Qingdao, a major port city of China’s eastern province of Shandong, have widely discussed trade and investment opportunities between entrepreneurs from both jurisdictions.

A 1-day business forum was held on May 12 in the northern part of the Seychelles main island of Mahé, where about 30 local companies and representatives of some 20 businesses from Qingdao could have business-to-business meetings and discuss the possibilities for cooperation in infrastructure, banking, import and export, shipping, and construction.

According to the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB), it had responded to the Qingdao delegation’s proposal to organise the forum as the group are currently on a tour of the Indian Ocean to establish business contacts and develop partnerships.

SIB’s Chief Executive, Rupert Simeon, told SNA that the Qingdao delegation have already been to Mauritius and are now heading to Sri Lanka.

It should be noted that a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTA) already exists between Seychelles and China allowing businessmen operating in the two countries to pay tax in one of the jurisdictions and avoid taxation in the other, aiming to encourage trade and investment between the two jurisdictions. Also, Seychelles is a member of both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) trade alliances and was recently welcomed as the 161st member of the World Trade Organisation. So, there should be much interest from Chinese businesses especially in the offshore sector that are using the tax structures in place to invest in the region.


Seychelles maintains 2nd best position in the African region in 2015 Global ICT report

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, Seychelles companies, Seychelles infrastructure, Seychelles' statistics at 12:29 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles has maintained its ranking as the 2nd best in Africa in the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) 2015. However, the jurisdiction has dropped from position 66 out of 148 countries in 2014 to 74 out of 143 countries assessed in 2015.

The global information technology report was compiled by the World Economic Forum – the non-profit international organization based in Switzerland. The report assessed 143 countries based on their capacities in the information and communication technology (ICT) sectors.

The classification is based on 52 individual indicators categorized under 10 different pillars including the political and regulatory environment, business and innovation, infrastructure, affordability, skills, individual usage, business usage, government usage, as well as economic and social impacts.

Seychelles has improved its score in the readiness subindex for infrastructure and digital content to 61 overall in 2015 from 74 in 2014. The area where there has been the most improvement under this subindex is affordability, where Seychelles ranks 93 compared to 113 in 2014. Skills have also improved to 42 from 44 in last year’s ranking. However, the Seychelles’ score in 3 other main subindices of environment, usage and impact have witnessed a drop in 2015 from a score of 62, 64 and 77 in 2014 to 79, 70 and 85 respectively.

The neighbouring Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has not only maintained its ranking as the best in Africa but has also climbed up 3 places to 45 position from 48 in 2013. In the African region, South Africa is now 3rd in the region behind Mauritius and Seychelles.

According to a report published by the International Telecommunications Union in 2013, Seychelles has 100% mobile phone penetration, 47% of the population uses the Internet, and there is 12% fixed (wired)-broadband penetration. The jurisdiction has 2 telecoms providers, Airtel Seychelles and Cable & Wireless Seychelles. Kokonet and Intelvision are 2 local companies providing internet services.


Tax Incentives to protect Seychelles’ Heritage

Posted in Seychelles infrastructure at 2:11 pm by Robert Klien

With a view to promote the Seychelles architectural heritage, the Government of the Seychelles is introducing new measures. These include tax incentives that would help businesses and private property owners repair and maintain buildings and houses of cultural value.

To encompass private as well as public buildings and houses, the new scheme will contain 3 components – tax, grants and planning incentives.

Under the Business Tax Act 2009, companies can benefit from 100% business tax relief for any donation or sponsorship to fund the preservation of heritage buildings that are channeled through the Seychelles Heritage Foundation.

Under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Tax, businesses can use their full CSR contribution towards repairs and maintenance of any building that has been identified as a building of heritage value.

The CSR Tax is payable at a rate of 0.5% by businesses with a turnover of SCR 1 million (USD 81,800) or more.

This new scheme is regarded as a milestone in terms of heritage conservation, since it is the first time the Seychelles government is providing financial support to private establishments in order to maintain buildings.


Seychelles’ President updates on progress and Seychelles2020 Vision

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government, Seychelles infrastructure at 2:58 pm by Robert Klien

On January 23, 2012, President James Michel met members of the Seychelles2020 Presidential Commission with a view to discuss the progress of the projects showcased in the Seychelles2020 Expo in March 2011. It is worth noting that Seychelles2020 Presidential Commission was initially known as the National Project Monitoring Unit.

President Michel was briefed on the project implementation timeline and detailed plans for Ile Soleil and Ile Aurore in particular, as both projects are to start in 2012.

In June 2011, technical studies were made. They were followed by subdivision and demarcation of plots of land in October 2011 and an environment study in November 2011. Currently the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) Seychelles 2020 sales office is being planned for installation into an area of the National Library building in March 2012. In July 2012, its construction is expected to start and be completed in several phases by 2015.

The commission outlined the plans for financing of the housing and commercial projects. It should be noted that these are expected to attract 100% private sourcing. Also, it was announced that the infrastructure including roads, water, electricity, and sewerage would be built by a public limited company that will be established by the government soon.

The meeting of the Commission was attended by secretary of state in the President’s Office, Ambassador Barry Faure who chairs of the commission, principal secretary (PS) for Presidential Affairs Lise Bastienne, the PS for Land Use and Housing Christian Lionnet, chief executive of the Public Utilities Corporation Philip Morin, chief executive of the Seychelles Investment Bureau (SIB) Sherin Renaud, chief executive of the Planning Authority Gerard Hoareau, architect Alain Hazan from the private sector, director for Project Implementation in the Department of Land Use Yves Choppy, and SIB’s director of Investment Promotion and Facilitation Sabrina Agathine.

The Seychelles2020 Presidential Commission is mandated to liaise with all agencies and persons in the country, public or private, and facilitate broad cross-agency coordination, monitor implementation. Also, it is to keep the President and the cabinet of ministers informed of the progress of the projects.


UN report says Seychelles’ elderly enjoy comfort and dignity

Posted in International Organisations, Seychelles infrastructure at 5:14 pm by Robert Klien

According to the 2nd African Governance Report (AGR) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca), the elderly in Seychelles spend the rest of their days in comfort and dignity.

The report urges other African countries to follow Seychelles’ example as regards looking after senior people.

Copies of the report were distributed among delegates who attended the launch of the 3rd AGR at the Seychelles Trading Company’s conference room held on January 14.

The report says: “Social policies geared towards the elderly ensure those who are independent have self-catering facilities provided by government in district homes”.

It stated that, in this regard, Seychelles has a policy for the elderly that should be emulated by others”. In most African countries, the quality, affordability and access to social services are inadequate.

It was highlighted in the report that Seychelles is the only African country with free medical care.


Telecom Seychelles to be purchased by Bharti Airtel

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles infrastructure at 7:09 am by Robert Klien

Bharti Airtel informed about its plans to buy 100% stake in Telecom Seychelles for the price of US$62 million. Prior to this deal, Bharti purchased Zain Telecom’s Africa assets for US$10.7 billion, and with the acquision of Telecom Seychelles the company will expand to 19 countries in Africa.

Bharti Airtel’s spokesperson said that the company has never had any stake in Telecom Seychelles, and it was only using its brand name Airtel. Now Bharti Airtel will acquire all stake from its promoters to make it part of African operations.

Telecom Seychelles Limited started its operations in 1998 by offering mobile services. Today it has over 57% stake of the mobile market in Seychelles, offering 3G mobile and integrated wireline services across the country.


Airtel Seychelles marks 10th year anniversary

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles infrastructure at 11:06 pm by Robert Klien

On December 12, 2007, Airtel (Telecom Seychelles Limited) started marking the commencement of its 10th year anniversary since its 1st launch in 1998.

When the company was launched in Seychelles, there were about 2,500 mobile customers there. Airtel made a significant contribution to an increase in the mobile market share. When Airtel entered the market, it reduced the international calling rates by 58% and local call rates by 40%. In as little as one year of operating, the company had registered more than 2,300 customers. The mobile market has experienced a progressive growth, and Airtel can boast of having captured 54% of the mobile market.

It is important that the launch of Airtel services broke the telecommunications monopoly and opened the market to competition.

Airtel was the 1st to introduce the concept of 24-hour customer service in Seychelles. It also was 1st to introduce prepaid cards & vouchers, value added services such as SMS, ringtones, logos, chat and data fax services.