President Wavel Ramkalawan, chaired a scheduled meeting of the Cabinet yesterday, Wednesday 1st February in which a number of policy and legal memoranda were approved.
Cabinet approved the repeal of the National AIDS Council Act. The National AIDS Council was originally launched on 24th May 2002 but became a legal entity through the National AIDS Council of Seychelles Act, 2013 (Act13 of 2013) in December 2013. The aim of the Council was to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS, and to address related matters.
HIV and AIDS continue to be an important health concern with people still being infected and dying of AIDS. As a result of the repealing of the Act, the functions of the Council will be discharged by the Public Health Authority which is the body responsible for disease prevention and control. The decision is part of the reorganisation and restructuring of the Ministry of Health with the aim of improving efficiency and to address the HIV/AIDS problem in a cohesive manner. No staff will be made redundant and no staff will be worse off in terms of remuneration as a result of the transition.
Cabinet also approved the new Agreement between the Republic of Seychelles and the European Union on access for Seychelles flagged fishing vessels to the waters of Mayotte and for the Seychelles representative in Brussels to sign the agreement. An agreement between the two countries is needed to avoid IUU (Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated) Fishing especially because fishing vessels move in and out of regional EEZs. The Agreement provides for the fees, and other conditions such as regional obligations, exchange of information and conservation measures. The fishing opportunities granted under this Agreement will be for a maximum of 8 tuna purse-seiners.
Cabinet approved the 2024-2026 Result Based Management (RBM) calendar. The calendar is a guide to the planning, preparation and presentation of the 2024-2026 budget, and reporting on the 2022 and 2023 budget. The calendar also establishes clear timeframes for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to prepare for and execute the different RBM activities during the calendar year.
Cabinet was briefed on the status of the Seychelles Child Development Study. The study which started in 1987 had as aim to study the effects on child development from prenatal exposure to mercury in the maternal diet rich in fish in which mercury occurs naturally. Over 6,500 Seychellois individuals (children and mothers) have been directly involved as participants in the study. The results of the study have shown that naturally occurring mercury in fish has no adverse effect on prenatal or post natal development of children. Results from the research also show the good health and development of Seychellois children, adolescents and young adults, and support existing knowledge about the factors influencing early childhood development including maternal age and education, gender, home environment, socio-economic situation. The rich data collected provides many other avenues for continued research on the infant, child and adolescent population. It was also confirmed that the data will be further used to inform policy development in the country.
Cabinet also discussed the results of the Mo Ibrahim Index recently published. Seychelles is now classed as number 2 for Governance from a ranking of 3. The President commended all Ministers and their teams for the effort and hard work put into achieving such good results. He confirmed that this result is a good indication that Seychelles is improving in its standards and performance. Seychelles scored 73.4 out of a possible 100 points in respect of Overall Governance.
Cabinet further discussed the rating of Seychelles on the Transparency International Perception of Corruption Index. Seychelles scored 70 and still is ranked number one in Africa. Again, the President praised the Public Service Bureau for its efforts that contributed to this outcome.
Cabinet Members registered their appreciation and that of the Government to Mr Vijay Patel for having sponsored the reconstruction of the National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS). The Institute which was reopened on Monday 30th January ensures that there is now a permanent school for nursing, health and social studies.
The Media are invited to contact the relevant Ministries for more extensive coverage of the topics.