Seychelles: Accomplishments and the way forward

With the first 100 days of Seychelles President James Michel’s now completed, the government’s Cabinet conducted a review of his mandate.

At its meeting of Wednesday, April 6, the Seychelles Cabinet expressed satisfaction that all actions pledged by President James Michel for the first 100 days of his mandate, which ended on March 28, had been satisfactorily achieved, or had been initiated and were ongoing as planned.

All Ministers had also submitted performance audit reports to the Cabinet, and these had been reviewed by a special committee chaired by the Vice President. The reports were being compiled to highlight specific areas of improvement required by individual ministries, as well as areas of concern running across the public sector, with emphasis being placed on improved service delivery. A final report would be presented to the President and Cabinet shortly.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet also recommended a series of improvements and initiatives that the government should prioritize in the next three months.

In its ongoing efforts to treat and rehabilitate victims of drug abuse, the government would reinforce medical treatment and detoxification programs. A program for the supervised use of needles and syringes would be launched. The program of rehabilitation of victims would be intensified.

In the area of community development, the roadmap and framework for the establishment of District Councils would be presented to Cabinet. Daycare centers would be built in Takamaka, Anse aux Pins, and Grand Anse Praslin. The program of street lighting on secondary roads would continue.

A special fund would be set up to promote the development of talent in the arts, sports, and culture.

The government would keep under review the benefits and assistance provided by the Agency for Social Protection. Special funds would be established to continue supporting persons with physical or mental disabilities, and for the renovation of dilapidated houses in cases where the occupants were unable to afford to undertake essential repairs. Plans would also be submitted to the Cabinet for the professionalization of the Home Care service.

The government would follow through with its plans to provide free transport to patients from Praslin and La Digue who were required to travel to Mahé for specialized treatment at the Seychelles Hospital. It would provide two boat tickets per month for post-secondary students from Praslin and La Digue traveling to and from Mahé. There would be subsidized inter-island travel for pensioners.

A first framework on Quality of Life of Youth would be presented to the Cabinet, as well as the formal structures to ensure coordination of youth policies across all sectors.

A revised Employment Policy would be submitted for the Cabinet’s consideration. Legislation for the payment of a 13th month salary for all employees would be proposed. Information would also be provided on the number of persons enrolled on the My First Job Scheme, and the costs involved.

The tax on salaries below SR8,555.50 would be removed from July 1, 2016, and the rates of tax applicable from January 2017 would be published. An audit of businesses would be undertaken to identify instances of under-collection of revenue.

Information would be made available on the cheapest rates of available brands of basic commodities at the STC, on tariff rates for water, electricity, and gas. Periodic publication of Internet usage and cost were also planned. A technical plan would be presented to the Cabinet on the provision of free Wi-Fi in designated areas.

The list of businesses and activities requiring authorization from either the Licensing Authority, the Planning Authority, and the Revenue Commission would be published.

Statistical information would be provided to indicate the performance of Port and Customs clearing.

In the area of land use, the government would specify the plots of land designated for construction of small and medium enterprise facilities. The government would also be following up on owners of land allocated for commercial or industrial use, where such land remained idle.

The government planned to start selling identified plots of land on Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue to Seychellois families. Seventy plots of land at Île Perseverance would be available for sale to young professionals under the self-fund scheme.

Construction would start on new housing estates at Pointe Larue and Baie Lazare.

14 graduate families would be presented with keys to their houses at Anse des Genets.

Work would also start on the planned building of 72 new housing units at Île Perseverance, and 68 others in different areas of Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue. Repair works on existing housing estates would be intensified.

The scheme for a 25% price reduction on PMC houses sold to tenants on purchase agreement would continue, as well as payment of 50% of rent by the Agency for Social Protection to tenants on minimum wage.

Proposals would be considered to encourage the private sector to use new alternative building methods.

In the area of agriculture, an action plan for a new hatchery would be presented to the Cabinet. Quarterly reports on agricultural production would also be produced.

The Health Care Agency would be outsourcing diagnostics and laboratory services. Measures would be taken in the health institutions to minimize waiting time for specialist appointments. Certain health services would be decentralized to districts, and a list of decentralized services would be published.

Information would also be published on students on overseas training in medicine, and on their specializations.

Teacher retention would be given priority, and the maintenance standards of schools would be improved. Emphasis would be placed on strengthening the school curriculum, and on student discipline and performance.

Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .