01.20.18

Seychelles to chair AML meeting to address “grey-list”issues

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles government at 8:41 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles is gearing up to hold this year’s Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Group meeting in August while also preparing to take up the presidency of the group, the jurisdiction’s finance minister said.

To prepare for the high-level meeting, Seychelles’ Ministry of Finance is holding frequent meetings with all involved parties to ensure the event goes smoothly from start to finish.

Peter Larose, the Minister for Finance, Trade and Economic Planning, said: “It is important that we plan ahead. I had to call on a number of parties to be able to assist as this is about Seychelles. We need to showcase Seychelles’ style of management, governance system and show the world that we are a capable, responsible and accountable government”.

According to him, the guests will have the opportunity to witness the competitive edge of Seychelles as part of the global village.

Minister said that discussions in this year’s meeting will focus on our compliance with international best practices including preventing money-laundering, tax evasion and combatting the financing of terrorism. “It is part and parcel of our commitment to share information within the group and Africa, and with the rest of the world,” said Larose.

The aim of the group is to combat anti-money laundering by implementing recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF). The organisation sets standards and promotes effective application of AML legal and regulatory measures.

01.17.18

Seychelles and Abu Dhabi leaders meet at World Future Energy Summit

Posted in Business and Economy, Diplomatic missions, International relations at 9:44 pm by Robert Klien

The president of Seychelles, Danny Faure, met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit this week.

The two leaders discussed how to maintain friendly relations and support between the two jurisdictions.

On January 15, President Faure attended the official opening of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week being held under the theme “Driving the Global Energy Transformation.”

The head of state of Seychelles is attending the World Future Energy Summit for the 2nd time in his presidency.

The event is a global discussion on the future of renewable energy, clean technology and sustainability and is held every year as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. This year, the summit will cover burning issues and key trends in the renewable energy sector, such as the future of energy and transport in urban.

01.10.18

Seychelles increases Import Duties on certain building materials

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles legislation at 9:24 pm by Robert Klien

Effective January 1, 2018, import duty was removed in the Seychelles on dietary supplements, corrugated iron sheets, and various other building materials, including panels, tiles, and other similar materials.

According to the tax agency, VAT will still apply on the aforementioned items, at a 15% rate.

The changes were included in Statutory Instrument 68 of 2017, Customs Management (Tariff and Classification of Goods) (Amendment) No 2 Regulations, 2017.

01.02.18

Tax Law changes approved in Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 8:33 pm by Robert Klien

At an extraordinary meeting of the Seychelles Cabinet in December, a number of legal and tax policy proposals were approved, continuing the jurisdiction’s progress in reforming its tax regime and bolstering its economy.

According to a Ministry of Finance statement that was released following the meeting: “Cabinet approved policies relating to the Progressive Income Tax Law. The aim of these policies are to simplify income tax collection. Cabinet also approved the amendment to the Excise Tax Bill. The amendments would harmonize the categories of business and persons entitled to fuel concessions under the Excise Tax Act 2009.”

Also, administrative changes were approved to the Seychelles Revenue Commission Act and the Customs Management Bill with a view to allow for the renaming of certain posts, as well as to allow for the creation of a Revenue Commission Board.

On December 13, 2017, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a new Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) for Seychelles. The 3-year arrangement with the IMF will allow the Government of the Seychelles to receive intensive support with regard to developing and implementing pro-growth economic policies.

The previous review of the economy held by the IMF in October 2017 said that while the Seychelles has made remarkable progress on enhancing its finance and economy, it still faces vulnerabilities and pressures, as a small island economy in a challenging global economic environment.

11.26.17

Tax settings overhauled in recent Seychelles’ 2018 Budget

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction, Tourism industry at 8:39 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles Budget included numerous proposals to change the jurisdiction’s tax settings, including new corporate tax reliefs and the settings for a progressive personal income tax regime.

According to the Government of Seychelles, its proposals for a progressive income tax will mark the 3rd phase of reform efforts that began in April 2016, with the introduction of a higher personal income tax exemption, for those earning less than SCR8,555 (USD618) a month.

Under the new changes, the threshold will remain the same, but income up to SCR10,000 will be subject to a 15% rate; income up to SCR83,333 will be subject to a 20% rate, and a 30% rate will be levied on income above that threshold. Foreign individuals will not benefit from the tax exempt threshold which will be applicable on a monthly basis, in a move said to be to reduce the tax compliance burden.

Also, an alternative for small businesses from being taxed under the business tax regime was proposed. They can be subject instead to a flat fee of SCR3,000, for businesses with a turnover of not more than SCR500,000; or a flat percentage of 3% for those businesses with turnover between SCR500,000 and SCR25m. Those with a turnover greater than this will not be eligible. In addition, it was noted that Seychelles has offered a presumptive tax with a 1.5% rate since 2013.

In the Budget, it is proposed that the following businesses will no longer have 5% tax deducted at source (DAS): building contractors, maintenance contractors, mechanics, hirers or operators of plant and equipment, or hirers of buses.

Amendments are proposed to the Business Tax Act to clarify, first, that Seychelles will have a territorial tax regime and, second, tax on depreciable assets will be limited to the original cost of the asset.

From 2019, the following tax concessions for the tourism sector will be repealed:

  • accelerated depreciation and the 200% allowable deduction for marketing and promotion costs. Instead the Government is considering offering a 200% allowable deduction for employing a qualified Seychellois graduate holding a Certificate, Diploma, or Degree or higher from an institution endorsed by Seychelles Qualification Authority (SQA); a 150% deduction for emoluments paid by an employer to a Post-Secondary or Tertiary, who is in full-time education and in part-time employment, and 150% for a business paying for training endorsed by the Agency of National Human Resources Development (ANHRD).
  • for the maritime industry, “artisanal and semi-industrial fishermen” will no longer be included in the scope of the business tax regime; instead they will play a fee in addition to current license and registration fees.

The Government has proposed to amend the tax rules for landlords of residential buildings to replace the current 15% tax with a 3% tax on gross rental receipts.

These business tax reform proposals are proposed to be effective from January 2019.

In addition, the Government is to reintroduce legislation to establish an immovable property tax, having earlier shelved plans to introduce this tax from July 2017. Under the levy, a rate of 0.25% will be charged on the capital-improved value of property owned by all foreigners as from January 2018. The tax will be applicable for all foreign-owned residential, company-owned, and leased properties of more than 25 years. Owners must make a declaration between January and June 2018, with collections expected to start from October 2018.

In accordance with the Budget, changes to the International Trade Zone Act, 1995, will be considered for inclusion in the 2019 Budget. The rate of tax on plug-in hybrid vehicles will be lowered from 15 to 10%. The Budget also exempts from VAT funeral services and reduces customs duty on dietary supplements from 25 to 0%.

Finally, it was announced in the Budget that the Seychelles Revenue Commission’s (SRC’s) organization structure will be re-organized in 2018.

10.23.17

Seychelles is world’s most vegetarian-friendly country

Posted in Business and Economy at 5:37 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles is the most vegetarian-friendly country in the world for vegetarian travellers.

With a total Global Vegetarian Index score of 328, Seychelles beat other high ranking nations like Thailand, Malaysia, and Sao Tome and Principe.

The Seychelles’ top score is driven by its high number of vegetarian-friendly restaurants in relation to its small population, alongside its low annual meat consumption.

While the USA has the highest annual consumption of meat, it did also rank highest for the number of vegetarian-friendly restaurants. However, Seychelles was the country with the most vegetarian-friendly restaurants in relation to population size.

10.21.17

Seychelles’ explores potential to increase tourist numbers at 2017 Magical Kenya Travel Expo

Posted in Tourism industry at 5:39 pm by Robert Klien

As the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) is constantly looking for opportunities to develop the potential of other source markets, the 2017 Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) provided the perfect opportunity to raise its profile not only among Kenyan visitors but also among visitors from other countries in the region.

The 7th annual event was held in Nairobi from October 3 to 5, 2017. The Seychelles’ stand attracted much interest from prospective partners.

STB’s senior marketing executive Amia Jovanovic-Desir Mrs Jovanovic-Desir said Seychelles’ presence at such exhibitions provides an added advantage in consolidating the island’s image as a tourist destination of choice.

09.30.17

FSA signs MoU on Info Exchange with Gambling Commission of Alderney

Posted in Business and Economy, Financial Services at 9:28 pm by Robert Klien

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) (former Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA)) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (“AGCC”) as regards Mutual Assistance and Exchange of Information.

The document was signed by Ms. Jennifer Morel, the Chief Executive Officer of the FSA and Mr. Jorn Starck, the Executive Director of the AGCC.

By virtue of the Seychelles Gambling Act 2014, the FSA is the regulator of casino, slot machines and interactive gambling business. The AGCC, through the Gambling (Alderney) Law, 1999 is the regulator of gambling on the Island of Alderney, the northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands.

In consideration of the growing globalization of gambling services, the financial regulators of the two jurisdictions recognize the importance of establishing a framework for mutual cooperation and consultation to ensure compliance to relevant laws and the facilitation of the performance of their respective regulatory functions.

The MoU formalizes the willingness of the two Authorities to cooperate with each other in the interest of fulfilling their respective responsibilities and functions.

The main areas of cooperation under the MoU include mutual assistance and exchange of information, as well as allowing for joint investigations.

The signing of the MoU reveals a continuance of the relationship between the two institutions. It also marks an important step towards the strengthening of its regulatory functions and
the enhancement of its relations with other reputable jurisdictions.

Seychelles’ situation getting better, IMF says

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, Seychelles government at 4:31 pm by Robert Klien

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Seychelles has made “remarkable progress” on strengthening its economy and finances.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the jurisdiction has been working with the IMF to improve its economy and reform its fiscal policies. According to the IMF,  these actions have driven “strong economic growth as well as noticeable improvement in fiscal and external position as well as a reduction in debt.”

The IMF said that Seychelles’ economic performance has been robust in 2017, adding that the primary fiscal surplus for the year is expected to reach 2.5% of GDP in line with the authorities’ target. So, it noted that “Growth outlook for 2018 remains positive, buoyed by the tourism sector”.

However, the IMF warned that “Seychelles still faces vulnerabilities and pressures, as a small island economy in a challenging global economic environment.” In order to manage these issues, the jurisdiction has entered into a 3-year arrangement with the IMF to receive intensive support on developing and implementing pro-growth economic policies.

The IMF discussed a number of potential measures with the authorities of Seychelles aimed to ensure continued fiscal discipline and progress towards the debt reduction goals.

08.22.17

Seychelles issues new bonds to attract investments

Posted in Business and Economy, Foreign investments at 6:56 pm by Robert Klien

New treasury bonds to encourage savings and attract new investments have been issued by the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) and the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Economic Planning.

The bonds pay between 6 and 7% interest rates.

Top officials from the two institutions told journalists in a news conference that among the 4 bonds issued, one is for the Development Bank of Seychelles.

“The four bonds worth 500 million SCR (around $36.7 million) will also assist the Development Bank of Seychelles with its operations, mainly its borrowing activities and also allow the Central Bank to better manage money on the financial market,” said Brian Charlette, director general of debt management at the finance ministry.

Charlette said that the government is guaranteeing the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS) bond which is for a 3-year period and will bring a 6% interest per year. The other 3 cover a 3- to 7-year period and has 6, 6.5 and 7% interest.” Payments of interest are made twice a year.

A bond is a debt security and is issued to raise money from investors willing to lend money for a certain amount of time. When a bond is bought, the buyer is lending to the issuer, in this case, the government. A bond is not to be confused with a treasury bill which is a short-dated government security, yielding no interest but issued at a discount on its redemption price.

The Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS) established in 1977 is a financial institution with a specific mandate to assist in the economic development of the nation.

According to the CBS, the bonds were issued as of August 7 and people who are interested should either collect applications forms from the Central Bank of Seychelles or download same from their website.

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