India, Seychelles should work on trade, business to solidify relationship, High Commissioner says
A delegation including the Indian High Commissioner visited the areas for the proposed projects on Praslin last month. (Marie-Celine Vidot)
(Seychelles News Agency) - India and Seychelles should continue to work on trade and other business opportunities to solidify the relationship between the two countries, the Indian High Commissioner told a business seminar on Tuesday.
“Both India and Seychelles have certain strengths and can complement each other when it comes to trade and commerce and business opportunities to achieve mutual benefit,” High Commissioner Ausaf Sayeed said.
The seminar, held under the theme ‘India and Seychelles Evolving a Sustainable Business Partnership for Growth and Prosperity,’ was to identify how the nations' business communities can engage with each other to tackle common business-related issues.
“India and Seychelles have been very close and dependable partners since more than four decades, and Seychelles’ trading relations with India go a long way back in history,” said Sayeed.
The Indian High Commissioner that the trade relations existed between India and Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, since the 1900s.
“Among the Indian companies present in Seychelles, Bank of Baroda has been maintaining a successful overseas branch in Victoria since 1978, which has further helped to develop the financial sector and service,” he said.
On his part, the chairman of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (SCCI) Oliver Bastienne, said that India-Seychelles relations have been characterised by close friendship, understanding and cooperation.
“Seychelles and India are bound by common values, shared aspirations and a shared belief that opportunity should not be limited only by how hard you’re willing to work, but by how hard you are willing to try. Trade and commerce between our people have been happening for decades,” said Bastienne.
The SCCI’s chairman believes that trade between India and Seychelles from the chamber’s perspective is still heavily untapped.
“I make a plea to Seychellois enterprises to make use of this seminar as a catalyst for a new or renewed economic partnership. A partnership that must be based on trust, fairness and growth,” he added.
The Indian High Commissioner said there are other opportunities in the fields of trade and commerce, renewable energy, innovation and infrastructure, hospital management, tourism, fisheries, blue economy and financial service. Both countries need to continuously explore to develop further in those areas said Sayeed.
During the seminar, some of the main challenges hindering the ease of doing business in Seychelles were highlighted such as high taxation at the port of entry, foreign exchange rate fluctuations and the limited space at the port.
Aside from collaboration in the business sector, the Indian government is assisting Seychelles through several grants. Last month, Seychelles received a grant of approximately $68 million to build a new government house to accommodate around 400 government offices as well as several other community projects.
These will include a new police station with a forensic laboratory -- a first in the island nation -- and a new building for the Attorney General’s office and a new state of the art convention centre will be constructed to replace the old International Conference Centre in Victoria.