09.30.17

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.

08.10.17

Germans are top Seychelles visitors for 2nd consecutive month

Posted in Business and Economy, Tourism industry at 6:40 pm by Robert Klien

According to national statistics, more people from Germany visited Seychelles than from any other country for the 2nd consecutive month.

Germany is followed closely by France and the UAE.

From the beginning of the year to July, over 27,000 German visitors have set foot in Seychelles, according to Seychelles’ National Bureau of Statistics. That represents a 33% increase compared to the same period in 2016.

A total of 198,898 visitors has entered the country from year to date, which is 21% above last year at this time.

The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Sherin Francis said: “The manager who works with the German market has for a few years now been promoting Seychelles as the ‘partner country’ during the main fairs” held in Germany”.

Talking about the second highest market, France, Francis said that despite the slight decline in the numbers, “STB is pulling big numbers from the country. It is still significant and producing volumes even if we have not been able to grow the market this year.”

To date, around 23,900 visitors to Seychelles came from France. The United Arab Emirates follows with around 16,500 visitors.

 

07.31.17

Seychelles hosts meeting of legal experts of Central Banks in SADC region

Posted in Business and Economy at 7:18 pm by Robert Klien

Legal and economic experts of Central Banks of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region met in Seychelles for their annual meeting at the beginning of the last week.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles, Caroline Abel, officially opened the deliberations of the legal sub-committee of the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG) of the SADC region on July 24 at the Savoy Seychelles Resort.

This meeting aims at the harmonisation of laws that will ultimately add value to and facilitate trade within the SADC region.

In an interview with the press following the opening ceremony, the chairman of the SADC CCBG legal sub-committee, Webster Madera from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, highlighted some of the common grounds, including the Central Bank Model Law, which has been approved by the CCBG and is currently being incorporated within the local laws of the respective countries, as well as the SIRESS Payment System, which will facilitate payment within SADC countries.

Another important issue discussed is the mainstreaming of the principle of what is referred to as a “cooling-off period”. Governor Abel explained to the press that this is an important issue for Seychelles, as it has to do with a set period of time that a governor or other senior officers of a Central Bank has to stay out of employment in the financial sector after leaving their post.

“The employment market in Seychelles is very small and we really have to consider the constitutional right of a person to employment, while ensuring that no financial institution receives an unfair advantage over others by employing a former Central staff who has just left the post and who is in possession of critical information with regard to the financial sector in Seychelles,” said Ms Abel.

The SADC CCBG legal sub-committee meeting ended on July 25.

07.26.17

Seychelles to announce SME Tax Cuts in Budget

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government at 7:08 pm by Robert Klien

Government ministers from the Seychelles have met with local businesses to discuss reforming and potentially enhancing the tax incentives for businesses and in particular SMEs.

According to the Government of the Seychelles, the meeting had been held ahead of the release of a 2018 Budget. It said that the Government is investigating ways to harmonize existing tax breaks, including those under the VAT, trade tax, excise tax, business tax, and income tax regimes.

It was indicated that the Government favors lowering taxes for small- and medium-sized firms (SMEs). A reduction to the 15% VAT rate on insurance policies was discussed, in order to make such products more affordable for all, especially for the needs of SMEs.

07.24.17

Seychelles urged to hike Taxes on Tourism Services Firms

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, Seychelles government at 7:08 pm by Robert Klien

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Seychelles has scope to further increase its tax revenue despite already having a relatively high tax-to-GDP ratio.

The IMF said that while Seychelles collects more in tax than other tourism-dependent island countries, its business tax-to-GDP ratio has been hovering around 4.25-5.5%, down from a peak at 7.1% in 2011. It noted that the jurisdiction should limit tax incentives for tourism-related companies, saying that the policies including taxing businesses in the sector at a rate of 15%, compared with 30% to 33% for other companies, had reduced tax collections by 0.5% of GDP.

Elsewhere the IMF welcomed the country’s plans for a property tax but said that it should be “non-discriminatory and should minimize distortions.” Seychelles is also considering the introduction of a sugar tax in its November budget and has delayed the introduction of a progressive personal income tax until January 1, 2018.

Significant reforms were announced in Seychelles in December 2016 Budget. They included the introduction of a new property tax will be introduced on land ownership in Seychelles, to be levied only on foreigners, and purchases of private land by foreigners will also attract a high stamp duty. Also, there were comprehensive changes proposed covering the personal and corporate income tax regimes.

06.05.17

Seychelles introduces penalties for late Business Activity Statements

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government at 7:13 pm by Robert Klien

As of June 1, the Seychelles Revenue Commission had been applying penalties for late submission of business activity statements (BAS).

Through the business activity statements, businesses must report and pay a number of taxes, such as goods and services tax, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) tax installments, PAYG withholding, excise tax for locally manufactured goods, and income and non-monetary benefits tax.

Following the entry into force of Statutory Instrument 1 of 2017, the following penalties apply from June 1:

– SCR500 (USD36) in the case of a small business, plus SCR50 for each week or part of a week that the form is not furnished;
– SCR1,000 for medium businesses, plus SCR100 for each week or part of a week; or
– SCR5,000 in the case of a large business, plus SCR500 for each week or part of a week.

05.15.17

Seychelles alters Tax Exemption for 13th month salary

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 7:16 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles Government has recently published legislation in the Official Gazette to amend the jurisdiction’s individual tax regime.

Published in the Official Gazette on April 13, 2017, the Income and Non-Monetary Benefits Tax Act (Exemption) Order, 2017, sets the value of 13th month pay that an employee can receive tax-free at SCR10,000 (USD733).

Payments in excess of this amount will be subject to tax at 15%.

04.10.17

Seychelles and Kenya to strengthen ties in trade, tourism, security

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Diplomatic missions, International relations at 6:16 pm by Robert Klien

During a visit to Kenya, Seychelles’ President Danny Faure and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta entered into a wide-reaching agreement aimed to enhance ties in trade and security

President Faure left Seychelles on April 2 on his first state visit since he took office in October 2016 following the resignation of former President James Michel.

The agreement was the culmination of bilateral discussions between the two heads of state at the State House in Nairobi on April 3. The agreement will see Kenya export more human capital (for example, teachers) and agricultural products to Seychelles.

President Faure said it makes more economic sense for Seychelles to import beef and poultry from Kenya instead of countries like Brazil. In the maritime sector, Seychelles has expressed its support to Kenya in developing its fishing industry, where President Kenyatta said little attention has been paid to since its independence. Seychelles will also support Kenya to develop the capacity of the port of Mombasa to act as a fish trans-shipment port.

The two Presidents also agreed for the two countries to cooperate in tourism development by partnering the agencies managing the sectors.

04.06.17

Transparency Initiative Seychelles to fight corruption

Posted in Business and Economy, International Organisations, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 6:04 pm by Robert Klien

Transparency Initiative Seychelles was officially launched in the beginning of April. This is a new non-governmental organisation, a part of the global entity Transparency International (TI).

Chrystold Chetty, the chair of Transparency Initiative Seychelles, said that the group joined the international organisation as people in Seychelles are asking for more transparency.

The launch of Transparency Initiative Seychelles was done at the end of a 2-day workshop hosted earlier this week on illicit financial cash flows from Africa. Participants were from TI members from the region such as Nigeria, South Africa and Mauritius. The workshop countries explored ways to resolve the issue of money that comes illegally from African countries and how as members of TI they can lobby their respective governments to put in place measures and structures to stop the illicit financial flows.

Transparency International (TI) is working in 35 countries in Africa. Transparency Initiative Seychelles was set up in October 2016 as the newest member of the organisation.

At the opening of the workshop, the founder of TI Peter Eigen, said that the “TI was set up about 25 years ago with the idea to help stop international corruption.” He noted: “We have seen that many countries, in particular in Africa, suffer from systemic bribery by companies from Europe and the United States. We have to stop these companies from bribing the decision makers in Africa, in Asia and in Latin America.”

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