President Wavel Ramkalawan chaired a scheduled meeting of the Cabinet today, Wednesday 16th November in which a number of policy and legal memoranda were approved.
Cabinet was briefed on the status of the Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan (SMSP). The purpose of the SMSP is to provide the government and marine sectors with direction on what and where existing and future activities are, or will be allowed. The Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan (SMSP) is a requirement of the Seychelles debt conversion. It is a government-led initiative to achieve the goal of 30% protection of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by 2020; advance the Blue Economy and address climate change adaptation for the entire 1.35 million square km EEZ and Territorial Sea. Planning of the SMSP began in February 2014 and will end in December 2022. Implementation is scheduled to start in 2023, once the Marine Spatial Plan is delivered and legally adopted.
Cabinet approved the Electricity Bill, 2022. This Bill which outlines the roles of licensees, Ministry responsible for energy and the Commission will ensure fairness and transparency within the energy sector. The sector will be regulated by a Regulator and not by a particular licensee. Under this Bill, all participants within the sector will have to obtain a license to carry out any electricity related activity and will have to comply with the requirements of the Electricity Bill and its subsequent Regulations.
Cabinet approved the Utilities Regulatory Commission Bill, 2022. The Utilities Regulatory Commission (URC) Bill will lead to a repeal of the Energy Act 2012 and will establish the Utilities Regulatory Commission to regulate the electricity, water and sewerage sector in the Seychelles.
Cabinet also approved the Road Transport (Use of Pavements) Regulations, 2022. This new regulation aims at regulating the use of pavements in the country. This regulation comes about as a result of noticeable unsafe use of pavements by street vendors for commercial activities.
Cabinet was briefed on the Government’s initiatives to undertake national consultation and sensitization on copyright laws. This will eventually lead to Seychelles potential accession to Copyright Treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization to allow for the protection of copyrighted works at the international level.
In November 2020, Cabinet granted approval for the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The main objective of the AfCFTA negotiations is to achieve a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement amongst Member States of the African Union. The scope for the AfCFTA covers the following protocols: Trade in goods; Rules and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes; Trade in services; Investment; Intellectual Property Rights and; Competition policy. Seychelles has already ratified the following three protocols: Trade in goods; Rules and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes; Trade in services. Today, Cabinet approved Seychelles’ position on the 3 remaining Protocols (Investment; Intellectual Property Rights and; Competition policy) of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Cabinet approved for the deposition of the Instrument of acceptance on the protocol- Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies at the World Trade Organisation by June 2023. Cabinet also supported the agenda for the continuation of the World Trade Organisation’s Fisheries Subsidies negotiations in March 2023 as guided by the Permanent Mission of Seychelles in Geneva.
Cabinet also approved amendments to the Citizenship Act 2013 (Cap 30) related to citizenship applications. The amendments include eligibility for citizenship. A Register of individuals who have been conferred the citizenship of Seychelles will be kept and opened to the public. The details of persons (including photographs) who are conferred with citizenship status, will be published in the Gazette and local newspapers within a specific timeframe. This new amendment will increase transparency in the process of giving citizenship to applicants.
Further details to the media will be provided by the relevant Ministry.