Leader of Opposition: Seychelles' economic future in hands of its people
Ramkalawan said that "we must not forget that the reconstruction of our economy will fall on us." (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The leaders in the National Assembly gave their responses on Wednesday to the presentation of the amended budget by the Minister of Finance.
The Leader of the Opposition, Wavel Ramkalawan, said that with each passing day "we realise a bit more the enormity that this crisis has put our country and the world in."
He said that Seychelles, which depends almost entirely on the world economy, will see its way towards recovery but "we need to make a correct decision, very difficult at times but always with our country's interest at heart."
Ramkalawan said that "we must not forget that the reconstruction of our economy will fall on us."
Amidst the various concerns expressed by the Leader of the Opposition was the number of foreigners in Seychelles currently not working because businesses are closed.
"Will they stay in Seychelles or is it not important for businesses together with government to see how they can be repatriated in special flight?" asked Ramkalawan.
He said the issue that comes up with this subject are the funds that will need to be converted in dollars to transfer outside of Seychelles.
"Of course they will also need food and as humans and other commodities which are imported a lot more to nourish more people and this will affect our financial reserve," said Ramkalawan.
He also questioned if Seychelles' local health resources will be sufficient to treat each everyone if the situation becomes worse with the spread of COVID-19.
Ramakalwan said that he supports assistance for several groups of people who are going through difficulties such as small business, self-employed, artists and others.
The Leader of the Opposition said that government statement to ensure the salaries for the private sector "has given false hope for businesses in our country. Instead of looking at how they can contribute to this economic crisis, everyone thinks everything will be ok."
He said that it is important that the country is reasonable in how it manages its resources and that this is not only short term.
Ramkalawan expressing support for all persons on the forefront of the fights against COVID-19 and those on the forefront of the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
On his side, the Leader of Government Business, Charles De Commarmond, has welcomed the government assistance to the private sector.
|He echoed the question by the statement of the Leader of the Opposition as to whether they can be repatriated to their country by a chartered flight. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY|
"It is encouraging because we can see today that if the private sector does not get assistance it will collapse completely and things will become worse really fast."
De Commarmond also asked the Minister what will happen to foreign workers whose GOPs (Gainful Occupation Permits) are about to expire in the coming months.
He echoed the question by the statement of the Leader of the Opposition as to whether they can be repatriated to their country by a chartered flight.
"We are now helping temporarily but after that, it will become complicated. We must be looking in that direction as to what we are going to do later if things become worse. So we must have a second plan. Otherwise, it will be additional costs that will be difficult for us to maintain.
He also spoke our public enterprise and said that they need to review their cost of operation and become more efficient so that they can better contribute to the country's economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Leader of Government Business congratulated the government for outing more funds in the budget of the Department of Health.
He ended in saying that in view of the "situation we are in now, we must be united as a people. If we are not united now the arrival of the COVID-19 will destroy us."
"We thank everyone who is doing their best for our Seychellois brothers and sisters and fighting in the forefront so we can come out a winner. ... May God guides us especially now that we are in the Holy Week," said De Commarmond.