State House

Office of the President of The Republic of Seychelles

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More Action Needed To Cut Business Snags

April 07 2011 -- President James Michel has noted constraints faced by businesses and said more action to overcome the hurdles needs to be taken quickly.

The recently announced initiatives to ease bank credit facilities for businesses are a good start in this new direction, he said, but named other areas of concern.

He was speaking at the launch of the two-day Investment Forum on Tuesday where he also launched the new brand for investment - Exciting Seychelles - which he said advocates Seychelles not just as the place for holidays but also a great place to invest, for wealth creation and for global and regional corporate positioning.

"Through my visits to various communities and businesses I have been able to personally gauge the success of some of our Seychellois-owned businesses," he said.

"Their concerns have not evaded me: the delays in the process for certain investment approval, the delays for business registration, the high interest rates which the banks are charging, the strict lending requirements of those same banks, the high rental charges for office and industrial space, the high labour turnover, the limitations for development in terms of land and other infrastructures."

He urged all stakeholders, the private sector, civil society and government departments and agencies to work closely with the Seychelles Investment Board and speak with one voice to encourage and promote investment in Seychelles as well as ensuring national unity and stability.

On the new brand, he said no matter how solid the concept or creative the slogans, it will not go far without the ultimate commitment of all concerned.

"It will not succeed if we do not take true ownership of it. We also have to bear in mind that without national unity, without stability, there can be no investment, no growth, no social and economic development. We will slide into chaos.

 ....We are doing very well. There is room, of course, for amelioration. We have to continue to improve and do better.

But we cannot afford to rock the boat."

He recalled the government's goal on investment is to propel the private sector to anchor itself as the main engine of growth as the government focuses its efforts to ease, to regulate and to ensure sustainability and coordination of the joint efforts.

"However, these efforts must be continuous in the light of drastic changes in the world economy if we want to maintain growth and to evolve with the times. At the same time, we should always be mindful of the effects any development could have on our environment and ensure that our economic growth remains within limits that are environmentally sustainable.

"We also need to continuously improve on service delivery and professionalism when dealing with potential investors ...

"The creation of an independent appeal panel for any investor who feels aggrieved by any investment decision should further strengthen the overall investment framework and provide further security and stability to investments," he said.

The Minister for Investment, Natural Resources and Industry Peter Sinon said one key underlying factor for joint success in realising the country's vision with greater Seychellois participation, is invariably the upholding of the peace and harmony that we should treasure at all cost.

"It is the most critical of all the necessary factors and as much as we shall discuss how to fix the nuts and bolts - we should never forget the value of peace and harmony as the very bedrock for investment consideration," he said.

"Investment whether local or foreign is the greatest coward ever. It does not materialise in unstable areas, capital is very mobile and any scent of unrest, or destabilisation - drives it away, it simply does not stick around - it simply disappears - most times without the faintest of warnings!"

He said each one of us has a duty to be a disciple and advocate for peace, security and harmony amongst ourselves.