Foreign investment: Investing in Seychelles will include economic needs test
To open businesses such as tourism establishments with less than 25 rooms, foreigners must partner up with a Seychellois. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Foreign businesses will now have to undergo an evaluation before setting up their ventures in Seychelles according to the amendments being made to the Seychelles Investment Act, said a top official on Thursday.
The statement was made by the principal secretary for investment, Michael Nalletamby, when talking to a group of licensing and registration officers about the Seychelles Investment (Economic Activities) Regulations, 2022.
The new regulation established clear guidelines on economic activities in Seychelles that a non-Seychellois may invest in.
A series of meetings with updated information are being organised by the investment department with relevant institutions.
Since July this year, the regulations have been changed so that before a foreigner can establish a business in Seychelles, an economic needs test will be conducted by the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB).
The regulations state that SIB will "evaluate applications by non-Seychellois to carry out activities, in which a non-Seychellois may wish to invest, based on a needs test, keeping in view the development of the economic activity in Seychelles, to the extent it may be considered in the interest of the domestic economy and consumers."
The changes allow foreign nationals to invest in businesses that include architectural services, legal services and taxation services without having to partner with a Seychellois national.
However, to open other businesses such as those of tourism establishments with less than 25 rooms, they must partner up with a Seychellois who in turn must have the majority of shares in the company.
In a news report on the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation television, Nalletamby said, "There are fears that we have opened all sectors to foreigners and that Seychellois do not have enough space to grow their businesses... We did not open all sectors to foreign businesses, we only opened those that at the time we found a necessity to do so, such as tourism and education."
He added that "there will be a series of clear criteria put in place to properly evaluate such activities."
Nalletamby said that for activities that do not fall on the list there will be the need to determine if the business will benefit the economy or the Seychellois consumers.
An economic needs test will be done where there will be clear criteria set to evaluate the benefits that these potential businesses can bring to the country and if there are benefits, they will be able to go ahead.