Retirement age to rise to 65, no tax increase, Seychelles' president tells National Assembly
President Danny Faure Faure touched mostly on issues related to the socio and economic development of Seychelles. (Louis Toussaint, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The legal retirement age in Seychelles should increase from 63 to 65 years, and the age of collecting one's pension should rise from 60 to 63, the president of Seychelles told members of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
President Danny Faure was making his second address to the members of the Seychelles legislative body since he became president in October last year. The new retirement policy proposals wouldn't begin until January 1, 2023, he said.
“The fact that we have a population that is living longer, the government believes that the time has come to prepare our population for an increase in the retirement age. We believe that five years' notice is appropriate,” said Faure.
The government will present an amendment to the law before the end of this year together with an amendment to the Pension Fund Act, where the pensionable age will move from 60 to 63 years of age effective on January 1, 2023.
The head of state said there will be no increase in any taxes, charges or fees for next year.
“This is an important decision as it helps the private sector to have more certainty and confidence in the Seychelles' economy. And for them to more effectively plan their operation that will in return contribute to the economy,” he said.
Faure touched mostly on issues related to the socio and economic development of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
The Islands Development Company, which was asked by the government five years ago to engage in the construction industry on a commercial basis, will as from the end of next year no longer be involved in the industry, said the president.
“Government feels that it is now time for IDC to withdraw itself from this sector and focus more on its mandate for islands development," he said.
The president announced the setting up of special tribunals. One will be an administrative tribunal aimed at resolving all cases of compensation related to land in line with Part III of Schedule 7 of the Constitution.
“I have also decided to create two special tribunals to address compensations related to abuse by and in the army, which has affected some of our citizens. This will also apply to abuse by and in the police force,” Faure said.
Along those same lines, Faure said that technical help had been sought from the UK for a complete audit of the investigation system of the police force.
“This will allow us to take the necessary measures to put our system on the required standard. We will next year invest in a forensics laboratory. The government of India will support us with this project.”
All future presidential and National Assembly elections will now be organised through a special fund under the responsibility of the Electoral Commission. Faure said yearly allocations from the national budget will be made to the fund which will take care of the campaign expenses of candidates who will participate in elections.
|A special fund for presidential and National Assembly elections will be set up under the responsibility of the Electoral Commission. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY|
“This is also in line with the desire to have a more level playing field,” Faure said, adding that if this proposal is accepted by the Electoral Commission, a bill will be presented to the National Assembly for approval.
The state funded education system has been the centre of discussions and for months now. In his address, Faure announced the government’s intention to make educational institutions more autonomous.
As from January 2018, the education system will orient itself so that the schools as institutions have more control over the education of their students. The head teachers and their teams will take complete control over the administration of their school, including decisions on discipline.
Faure added that: “The schools will also receive the resources and appropriate tools to do their work. The days when we micro-managed the schools have come to an end. The school administrators receive their guidance from the School Council.”
Post-secondary institutions will manage their budget and have direct control over their administration.
On the subject of the workforce, the head of state said that today unemployment rate is 4.7 percent and in the 45,684 people in employment almost one-third are non-Seychellois.
“This shows that our economy will not be able to function easily without non-Seychellois workers, but I am convinced that it is important for the government to put more effort in helping our Seychellois to move higher in the level of work that they are in now.”
The members of National Assembly have talked a lot about how the food sector has been neglected with not enough resources, Faure said. “The government is responsible to ensure that these sectors have the necessary infrastructure to move to the next level of performance.”
Housing is the other pertinent sector that the president’s addressed touched upon.
“We cannot talk about the social situation and the preservation of the dignity of our citizens without addressing the housing situation,” he said.
Faure said that the housing situation is critical and further to the measures that are being implemented, the government will allocate land on Perseverance to the private sector to build at least 250 more units.
|File Photo: Ile Perseverance -- a reclaimed island next to Mahe, has the largest social housing project undertaken by the Seychelles government. (Glenn Pilay, Seychelles News Agency)|
“This measure will mean that government will be in a position to concentrate on the planning and construction of another 250 units in districts and regions,” said the president.
The United Arabs Emirates will support the construction of 400 housing units on all the three main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, he said.
Faure ended his address by urging all to put the interest of Seychelles and the Seychellois people above all other considerations.
The Leader of the Opposition Wavel Ramkalawan and the Leader of the Government Business Charles Decomarmond in the National Assembly will respond to the address on Tuesday afternoon.