Seychelles' National Assembly responds to proposed budget for 2018
The Seychelles National Assembly building at Ile du Port. (Joena Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - A budget of 7,951 million rupees ($586 million), an increase of 0.4 percent over the previous year, was presented to the Seychelles National Assembly earlier this month by the Minister of Finance Peter Larose.
The Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly, Charles De Commarmond, said that the vision, expenses and revenue of the government for 2018 is a good plan.
“It’s a very ambitious plan which gives hope for the future of Seychelles. The budget like its theme says: it’s a plan for ‘Working towards shared prosperity for the People.”
He said that the 2018 budget introduces a simplified tax system, maintains economic stability, reduces the cost of living, and makes people happy.
De Commarmond said Seychelles needs to improve and accelerate certain programmes to address the situation of the vulnerable and poor. De Commarmond also suggested that the government invest in prefabricated houses.
“These houses will cost less than those with concrete blocks. The houses can be sold at a cheaper rate with those who really need it with the condition that they maintain it themselves,” he said.
The Leader of the Opposition, Wavel Ramkalawan, said the voice of the opposition is reflected in some of the decisions and recommendations taken in the 2018 budget address.
Ramkalawan said that people in Seychelles are demanding security and protection and that the country is ready to invest in a police force which is respected, professional and disciplined. The country wants a force, he added, which will ensure the protection of tourism, which is under threat from burglaries and attacks on visitors.
“The police force needs to be reinforced with more officers, more resources and good training to better protect the people and maintain peace and order,” he said.
On the issue of the Progressive Income Tax, he said he will insist that it takes effect January 1, 2018, and not in July 2018.
The subject of salary, pension and social security remain important subjects in our country, he said.
“I would like to say that we are against the proposition that people who retire at 60 years will not get their social security. The SCR5050 ($372) for pensioners simply helps them maintain their standard of living.”
Ramkalawan has welcomed the decision for a category of people to get their pension at 55 years, especially for medical reasons.
The leader also talked about tourism, agriculture and fisheries, which he said more Seychellois should venture into. Ramkalawan is calling on the government to protect the opportunities including jobs for Seychellois in these industries.
Ramkalawan also said the government works too slow which has an impact on the budget. He ended by saying Seychelles must collect its revenue, use it well for all sectors of the society, develop a country where all citizens live in peace and in security, to look in the wellbeing and invest in Seychellois workers for future prosperity which all Seychellois seeks.