In the past few years, there has been an energetic revival of the Seychelles local music industry. This is obvious though the increased number of activities promoting the island’s local music like the “Moutya night’’ to the promulgation of a new copyright act that gives broader protection of copyrights consistent with international best practice and in line with WTO agreement on Trade Related Aspects of International Property Rights (TRIPS) of which Seychelles is aiming to become a member.
But the question that remained in the industry at large was that if Government had any tax benefits that could be enjoyed by the Seychelles local musicians to continue encouraging this particular form of art in Seychelles? The simple answer is yes, through the form of targeted tax incentives.
Targeted tax incentives have widely been embraced by governments as an economic development tool to spur growth that might not have otherwise occurred. It is with this in mind, and recognising the importance of this industry, that the Seychelles Ministry of responsible for Finance, Trade and Investment in collaboration with the Ministry responsible for Culture, has put in place tax incentives for the benefit of the island’s local musicians. This ranges from a reduction in customs duty and VAT on imported musical instruments and accessories to allowing 125% deduction under business tax when hotels and restaurants hire the services of local performing artists.
Following consultation with the industry, the Government felt that it was now ready to increase awareness of these new supporting measures that were introduced primarily for the artists involved in the Performing Art of Seychelles. Following a meeting at Liberty House between Minister Pierre Laporte, the Minister responsible for Finance, Minister Alain St.Ange, the Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, Benjamine Rose, the PS for Culture, Dr Steve Fanny, the PS at the Ministry of Finance and Jimmy Savy, the CEO of the NAC (National Arts Council) the Government has found it necessary to again draw the attention of Performing Artists and of the Hotels & Restaurants of the existence of such benefits to the tourism industry as a way of continuing to encourage the tourism industry to continue procuring the services of local performing artists. As was announced in this year’s budget, the Government will also extend such benefits to other stakeholders in the tourism industry.
This meeting at the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment at Liberty House follows a series of meetings starting with SeyMas, the NAC (National Arts Council) with the Minister of Finance in late October 2013 and one organised by the NAC (National Arts Council) on the 5th November 2013 for Artists Association Chairperson’s Forum in which the following issues were discussed:
Benefits of Artist through the Corporate Social Responsibility Tax (CSR).
The benefit that the hotel gets in their tax return when they pay a good remuneration package to the artist.
Exemption of business tax and other tax rebates to the artists.
On the 2nd of March 2014, the same issues were addressed in the chairman’s forum especially the process for CSR. This time Artist representatives from Praslin were also present in the meeting. The NAC (National Arts Council) also attended a meeting with Big 5 members late last year ( Patrick Victor, Joseph Sinon, Elijah, Sandra and Jean Marc Volcy) in which the Minister of Finance discussed lengthily on CSR and its benefit and other benefits of the new tax regime.
Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture said after the meeting that he wanted to thank the Government of Seychelles through the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment for answering the appeal for more benefits for the performing artists of Seychelles. “Benjamine Rose, the PS for Culture and her Team have been working close with me to see ways and means to continue to showcase our culture. For this to continue to happen we needed to see an injection of support into the industry and for the industry. The Targeted tax incentives by the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment is now a clear boost for the Tourism Trade of seychelles to call upon our performing artists and put creole flavour into our tourism establishments” Minister St.Ange said.
The Ministry of Tourism and Culture have been working with the Ministry responsible for Employment to protect the local Seychellois artists and they continue to reject the applications for foreign artists to play in hotels and resorts as House Band. “We need to see our local artists being recognised and contracted before we can even look at allowing resident bands coming from overseas. As a Government we have now increased benefits to make it interesting for Tourism Establishments to contract local performing artists. We shall continue to support our artists to develop their skills and will continue to encourage them in the promotion of our culture” Minister St.Ange said.