National Assembly leaders respond to Seychelles’ President State of the Nation address
The two leaders in the National Assembly gave their responses to the President's SONA on Friday. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The two Leaders in the Seychelles’ National Assembly on Friday responded to President Wavel Ramkalawan’s State of the Nation Address.
The Leader of the Opposition, Sebastien Pillay, said that the President’s address was not about the state of the nation but rather excuses for what the government has not been able to achieve.
Pillay’s first point was the issue of the cost of living which keeps increasing.
“Statistics show that the cost of food has increased by 14 percent at the beginning of the year and the majority of Seychellois is feeling it. The state of our nation is that life has become more expensive in Seychelles,” he said.
One of the points that the president talked about during his address was the need for Seychellois to work harder to contribute to the development of the country.
|The Leader of the Opposition, Sebastien Pillay, said that the President’s address was not about the state of the nation. (National Assembly) Photo License: CC-BY|
Pillay said that there are many Seychellois who are working hard to support their families and it was unfair for everyone to be put into the same category.
He also spoke about the security in the country and the President’s call for unity.
“Your demand for unity also depends on actions that demonstrate a sincere intention. Only a day after you talked about amending the constitution, we hear the cabinet has approved an amendment to allow the defence forces to assist any public authority in relation to public security,” said Pillay
The Leader of the Opposition talked about the COVID fund set up to help Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, in its battle against the pandemic.
“I do not accept that to date we have not received any details on the expenses from the COVID fund. There was more than SCR60 million and I think that before we create a sovereign fund let us have an audit of the COVID fund,” said Pillay.
Pillay has also urged the government to listen to the opinions of others when making decisions that affect the people, especially concerning the increase in the retirement age.
“A lot of people are concerned about the increase in retirement age since the economic state of the country has changed since the last time this subject came before the National Assembly. A lot of people cannot wait another five years for their pension. United Seychelles will present its position on the subject and we hope that in the spirit of listening that the President said, he will listen to us and not present a done deal,” he said.
On his side, the Leader of Government Business, Bernard Georges said that the President had three main lines in his address -- transformation, positivity, and the joy of living.
He said that since the President was elected 16 months ago, a series of initiatives have been taken to transform the way institutions work.
|Georges said that the President had three main lines in his address. (National Assembly) Photo License: CC-BY|
“Transformation is one where we must produce in order to reap and personal transformation must be accompanied by structural ones at all levels,” said Georges.
On positivity, he said that with the “appropriate decision and an economy balanced with protection for the people, the government has redressed our country and put us on our way to prosperity.”
Georges said that some of the appropriate decisions taken were the acquiring of COVID vaccines, a vaccination programme followed by the reopening of the country to relaunch the economy. He added that another positive sign is the lowering of the dollar from SCR22 to SCR14.
On positivity, he gave the example of the need for a remand centre for people who does not make bail made by the Human Rights Commission and “we have heard that a new high-level centre will be built soon.
Georges said that for the joy of living, not everyone today is happy about their lives as not everyone is employed while too many people are looking for affordable housing.
“These are some of the challenges facing this administration… Very soon, our assembly will consider and debate on several important subjects for the nation. This will be the Pension Fund and new procedures for allocation of housing and land,” he said.
Georges said that“ all of these shows me that the transformation of our country is positive and in it, each one of us will prosper in our own way.”
“If the conflict in Ukraine does not destabilise our economy, I have hope that as we bring in more revenue from our hard work and with world trade returning to a more sustainable level, Seychelles will resolve the remaining challenges,” he concluded.