Key projects gear us up for change and growth

In his state of the Nation address delivered on Tuesday 26 February President Faure outlined some key projects under way which will help our country move to the next stage of its economic trajectory. President Faure stated that our economy continues to grow and this is due to a collective effort from everyone working across so many sectors; to name a few, fisheries, agriculture, telecommunications, financial services, construction, trade, small businesses and tourism.

President Faure pointed out however that we cannot rest on our laurels. We are faced with uncertainties in regards to global economy because of current trade tensions among bigger nations, uncertainty in Europe and volatility in fuel prices. In view of all this President Faure said, we need to remain vigilant. This includes being aware of development in the airline industry, where visitor patterns and airline decisions constantly change due to various factors.

President Faure announced that in light of all these uncertainties and due to our economy depending heavily on tourism, we need to make sure that our airline, Air Seychelles, continues to make international flights. President Faure said that while the company is still going through a stage of transition, which started last year, Air Seychelles remains the insurance policy for our tourism industry, helping substantially towards our economic growth. In line with this, President Faure announced government's decision to subsidize 6 million US Dollars per year to Air Seychelles, over the next five years, starting from this year. President Faure added that Air Seychelles' partner Etihad had already made its full contribution.

Other key projects covered by President Faure, among others, were:

La Gogue dam � The extension of the dam is costing SCR 185 million. Work is being carried out to raise the height of the dam so that it's able to store much more water, holding up to 1.6 million tons of water once the work is over, an increase of 600,000 tons of water from before. Work is required at the bottom of the dam which will mean emptying the dam over a period of two months starting in July this year. President Faure mentioned that while this work will cause inconvenience to the public with regards to water supply, PUC is putting alternative options in place, to ensure water is available, one such option is the home water tank installation.

PUC's 33kV underground transmission line project to South of Mahe � The aim is to have a robust electricity transmission and distribution network in South Mahe, enhance the reliability and quality of electrical supply, and help provide electrical energy to all sectors of the economy. The two-phase project is expected to end mid-2019. Phase one, which is currently ongoing, requires excavation works and laying of two circuits of 33 kV cables from Roche Caiman to Anse Boileau via Montagne Posee. Phase two will involve the installation of 33 kV cables from Turtle Bay to Anse Boileau via South Coast with new 33 kV substations at Turtle Bay, Anse Royale, Quatre Bornes, Baie Lazare and Port Launay.

Extension of Victoria port � With around 65,000 20-feet containers being managed at the port annually, it is clear that the space at the port is limited and is therefore creating congestion. To increase the surface of the port and facilitate container handling and better manage in and out traffic, work will start next year to extend the length of the port by 600 metres. With a plan to reclaim land, demolish old buildings and create an alternative place for anchoring, several adjustments are required by all who use the port on a daily basis. 500 workers will be involved in this project and government has agreed with SEYPEC that in order to reduce the level of inconvenience this work will create, a separate anchoring area will be made available on Romainville island.

Improvement of the Praslin port � This work is costing SCR 120 million and will be phased over five years with a view to increase the space around the port, creating areas for warehouse and containers. This project will facilitate trade on the island leading to a reduction in cost of living over time.

Drainage project on La Digue � Already in motion, the SCR 200 million project is important for the island's sustainability. PUC will also install an electric cable between Praslin and La Digue to improve electricity supply on La Digue. The project is costing SCR 140 million

President Faure stressed that all these projects will bring long term benefits for all Seychellois so while people will be inconvenienced he called upon everyone's continued cooperation.

The full State of the Nation speech will be available online from Monday 4 March.

Source: State House, Office of the President of the Seychelles

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