Seychelles National Assembly calls for government MDAs to go fully cashless by January 2025
The motion was brought forth on Wednesday by the elected member of the central district of Mont Buxton, Gervais Henrie, (Seychelles Nation)
The Seychelles National Assembly has asked the government with all its strategic partners to consider putting in place all necessary mechanisms for the public sector and parastatal services to go cashless as of January 1 in 2025.
The motion was brought forth on Wednesday by the elected member of the central district of Mont Buxton, Gervais Henrie, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.
Henrie said that the motion is simple and that "it is asking that once and for all, all cash transactions stop in public and parastatal services. The motion is proposing a time frame of 18 months from now."
He said that before coming into power, it was a dream of the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) party to transform the Seychelles' economy into a digital economy where financial services become a new frontier for business.
Henrie said that in his first budget address in February 2021, the Minister for Finance, National Planning and Trade, said that the world has already entered the digital era and Seychelles cannot be left behind.
"In December 2020, Vice President Ahmed Afif said that from the end of 2021, most ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) expect to have a point of sale or POS to facilitate digital transfer instead of using cash," he added.
Henrie revealed that through a conversation with Karine Bonne, the acting comptroller general in the Management of Public and Treasury Division, he learned that 95 percent of MDAs have POS except for one or two entities.
He spoke about two entities that have gone cashless, the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) and Seychelles Parks and Gardens (SPGA).
"When SPGA launched its digital payment for visitors going to Curieuse in July 2022, the chief executive, Allen Cedras, said that in a year SPGA collected around SCR15 million around $1 million on ticket sales but by using cash, it loses half the amount that is SCR7.5 million," he explained.
He added that the chief executive of SPTC also said that the company loses around 10 percent of its revenue in leakage when passengers pay for their fares but tickets are not issued, so the transaction is not registered."
SPTC went cashless on July 1 and no cash payment for fares is accepted on its buses.
Henrie said that the two examples "show clearly that we must eliminate the use of cash in revenue collection.
He also reocgnises that much work has been done by the Department of Information, Communication and Technology (DICT) and the Central Bank of Seychelles with its international partners and consultation with the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In September 2021, the Central Bank of Seychelles said that the island nation's financial system will be almost entirely digitalised by 2023 in line with its technological integration strategy.
Henrie said that several measures have been put in place to facilitate the collection of revenue by the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) and this included technical support from the United States government.
"Through the motion, the National Assembly recognises that digital transactions will eliminate risks and administrative difficulties, and costs associated with the transaction," said Henrie.
Among the benefits he mentioned are improved efficiency and maximum benefits in public management and reduced potential for illegal and dishonest activities.
"We are supporting the government strategy to improve the business environment and the possibility to do business through the adoption of a more efficient payment," he added.