Speech by President Danny Faure to the National Assembly

Mr President of the National Assembly

Honorable Leader of the Opposition

Honorable Chief of Government Affairs in the Assembly

Honorable Members

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Seychellois People

Hello!

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to address the House today. So I would like to begin this speech, by saying that our cohabitation is doing well and works wonderfully. The important thing, in this respect, is to be always animated by the same will to work together for the Seychelles and all Seychellois. As leaders respectful of the will of the people of Seychelles, we are honoring the necessary leadership so that the Seychelles can move forward. This is the place for me to salute the role that the National Assembly plays in deepening democracy in the Seychelles.

The Assembly supports our joint efforts to achieve greater transparency, accountability and good governance in the country.

The level of transparency and accountability that the National Assembly is stimulating will undoubtedly strengthen the work of ministries, departments and other institutions. And it will contribute to the effectiveness of the government.

As a result, it will become more effective, more inclusive and fairer. This will benefit the entire people.

Mr President, the role of ministers is to lay down directional policy principles and ensure the development of infrastructures. They are also responsible for assessing and evaluating the performance of the structures and bodies that fall within their competence. On the other hand, the agencies, companies / companies, public companies and the regulatory authority receive instructions from their respective Board of Directors. This implies that the Executive Head receives his mandate from the Board of Directors. That is to say, under the principles of good governance, the minister is not licensed to manage any agency, company, public corporation or other regulatory authority. We do not have to interfere in their operations and activities. The Government, through the Ministers,

One of the new principles I have introduced is to choose citizens from the private sector or civil society to lead or be members of the boards of agencies, public enterprises and other regulatory authorities. This new approach comes in line with the policy of creating a more inclusive government and offering citizens an opportunity to play an important role in the country's development.

However, as far as investments are concerned, all public enterprises and authorities are required to seek prior approval from the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for measuring the impact and potential risks to the economy and National budget. All this is part of a series of new rules that must be followed.

Mr President, under the rules of transparency, we have also decided that from August all tenders will be broadcast. It is important for citizens to be informed about the subject of our tenders and to submit a tender if they so desire.

Five years ago, the government asked IDC to take part in the construction activities. The government now believes that the time has come for IDC to end these activities in order to focus on its primary mission of ensuring the development of the islands. The company has until the end of next year to put an end to this construction activity.

Mr President, we have the task of bringing the necessary amendments to the regulatory laws of the institutions, authorities, agencies and others, so that they reflect the new principles of good governance. For example, our law on "public procurement" provides for an appeal in case a tenderer does not agree with the procedure followed or the outcome of the call for tenders. In the same vein, the government proposes to make amendments to other legislation to include this provision in appeal. This is to promote the principle of accountability and good governance.

Mr President, the Appointment Authority for Constitutional Posts, recommended the appointment of several individuals in accordance with the Constitution and the laws in force. She had previously published appeals for expressions of interest in the press. And many citizens have responded. In the final document she then submitted to me, I noted that she had previously held job interviews with all the candidates. And it was at the end of those discussions that she gave me her recommendations. In accordance with the Constitution, the laws in force and the spirit of cooperation that existed, I consulted with the Leader of the Opposition before making a final decision.

The Government is about to complete the drafting of a bill on the appointment of officials to certain administrative posts. All vacancies will now be published and broadcast. Appointments to these posts will be made by the new Public Service Commission, the country with competent Seychellois cadres whom we must give the chance and trust.

Mr. Speaker, through transparency, good governance and accountability, our institutions will gain independence and authority. It is therefore necessary that all our citizens be trained and informed about the role of our various institutions and authorities. Armed with this knowledge and other information, they will be well placed to enjoy all that the State puts at their disposal. With the necessary knowledge and information, there will be no room for confusion.

Mr. Speaker, our citizens also have a role to play in promoting the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance. Any citizen who has a complaint to do or has evidence of dishonest action, corruption, equivocation, abuse of power, violation of law, violation or abuse of human rights must, without fear , Bring the relevant institutions or authorities to justice.

Mr President, following the decision of the Court of Appeal of 7 December 2012, we will set up an Administrative Tribunal to deal with all cases of land compensation in accordance with the Constitution, specifically in Part 3, Annex 7.

In the same context, I have decided to create two Special Tribunals which will examine the compensation linked to the abuses that have taken place in the past in the military, and by the military, abuses of which some of our citizens may have been victims. The same will apply to abuses in the police and the police. For my wish is to conclude this chapter definitively.

We have the Ombudsman, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Police and the Human Rights Commission. As for the police, it is not up to us to hide it. It is not the role of the Minister to deal with the operation of the police. The Constitution is clear about the role of the Police Commissioner.

The public expects the police to do their work in accordance with the law and that the concerns of the citizens receive the necessary attention. I know that the police have a great challenge in this regard.

The Government has recently sought the technical support of the English Government to conduct a full audit of the investigative unit at the Police, in order to bring it up to the level it deserves. We also decided to invest in a forensic laboratory next year.

The role of the Commissioner of Police is to ensure the functioning of the Police and to raise the level of professionalism of his service in order to win the confidence of the Seychelles people.

Mr President, good governance, transparency and accountability also apply to private companies, civil society and political parties. It is important that in our society these principles be promoted and prevalent in our economic, social, civic and political institutions. While each of us will be involved in developing these principles at the level of our organizations and institutions, we will all contribute to enhancing transparency, accountability and good governance.

The governance of the Electoral Commission will improve when the Assembly approves the new law that separates the President of the Commission and the Executive Chief of the Commission.

Mr President, I believe that the time has come to set up a Special Fund for Presidential and Legislative Elections. This fund will be financed annually from the national budget and will be used to fund the campaign expenses of the candidates. He will report to the Electoral Commission. The creation of such a fund will contribute to greater transparency and accountability of campaign spending. Not to mention it will help to put everyone on an equal footing. If this proposal is approved by the Electoral Commission, it will be the subject of a bill which will be submitted to the approval of the National Assembly. The future of the Seychelles must not be subject to the dictates of the " Money of any economic sector. It is the Seychelles people who must decide the political direction of their country.

Mr. Speaker, one of my main concerns today is how to help our people whose lives have increased. In 2016, for the first time in our history, the average lifespan of women has reached 80 years. While that of the man is close to 70 years.

Faced with this reality, we can not think of sustainability without thinking at the same time about our responsibilities. Opposite to us who are still in service, what will be the responsibility of the rising generation? Who will be responsible for taking care of us tomorrow?

This brings me to the old age pension. As you know, the retirement pension to which every citizen is entitled at the age of 63 is financed from the national budget. Its amount is 5050 rupees per month.

Any citizen who has contributed to the Pension Fund may claim his or her pension at the age of 60 in proportion to his / her contribution.

Mr President, given the fact that the life of the population has increased, the Government believes that the time has come to prepare our population for a reduction in the retirement age. We believe that 5 years' notice would be appropriate to prepare it. It is in line with this that the government proposes to bring before the end of the year an amendment to the law that will lower the retirement age from 63 to 65 years. And this will take effect from January 1, 2023.

The other proposed amendment to the Pension Fund Act will be to change from 60 to 63 years the age at which any citizen can exercise his right to retirement. This also will come into effect as of January 1, 2023.

This is very important if we are to address the issue of sustainability that this situation imposes.

These are decisions that are binding on us as a country, and that we must take in the interest of the Seychelles.

The amendment of the law is just part of the solution. Because a population with a long life span also leads to an increase in needs in the areas of health, home care programs, housing, transport, leisure facilities and so on. The question we have to ask ourselves is how we will support all these various services and programs.

The solution, however, is with us, the world of Seychellois workers. It is we who control the destiny of our country. The Fate of the Seychelles is in our hands. We are a small country in the middle of the ocean, with a population of less than 95,000 inhabitants. Today we live in harmony between brothers and sisters. We must therefore continue to unite, increase national productivity, strengthen discipline in all facets of our lives, and take all of our responsibilities at the family level. That is the solution, first for this growing child, then for us who are still working, and finally for our elderly people who have to live a dignified retirement life.

Mr President, there is an enormous task and a great responsibility that rests on the shoulders of the rising generation. It is the next labor force that must take care of the Seychelles and the entire nation.

Our future is dependent on what we invest in it so that it becomes what we would have liked it to be. We are the world of work today, and we must inject our energy into this generation and redouble our efforts to take care with the generation older than us who in those days had taken care of the Seychelles and we Had rocked.

Mr President, what will change?

Beginning in January 2018, the education system will be reformed so that the school becomes an institution that has more control over the education of pupils and students. The principal and his / her team will have full control over the operation and administration of the school, including disciplinary decisions to be made. The time when we played against each other, ministry, schools, parents, teachers and students, is over. I have my own child who is in the secondary school of Beau Vallon. He knows what the school expects of him and the consequences of a breach of the rules. I do not interfere in any way, neither as a parent nor as President. It is the school that is sovereign.

In addition to autonomy, schools will also have the resources and tools to do their jobs. The time when we interfered in the operation of the school is over. The administrator of the school will receive instructions from the school board.

All post-secondary institutions will also have to manage their budgets and will have direct control over their administration.

As parents, we must understand that from the moment our child comes to earth, we are his first educator. And when he goes to school, we must continue to look after him, to participate in his development, and to support the teachers and the administration of the school which supervise him.

We also need to pay attention to the comments, comments and video we post on social networks. In doing so, we are unwittingly contributing to sowing the bad seed that will poison the minds of our children and young people during their early childhood. We share a collective responsibility for promoting and inculcating good moral and spiritual values in our children and youth.

Dear Children, young Seychellois, take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you to learn, learn and learn. The future of Seychelles and our people depends on what you will do today and what you will become tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, according to the recent statistics available to us, our economy has a large workforce of 45,684 employees. The unemployment rate during the same period is 4.67%. Of the 45,684 employees, nearly one-third are foreign workers, 1,328 in the Public Sector and 13,213 in the Private Sector.

This tells us that our economy will find it difficult to function easily without the help of foreign workers.

But what I am convinced of, Mr. President, is that it is important for the Government to redouble its efforts to help the Seychellois to move up the ranks in the jobs they now occupy. The mechanisms to help us achieve this goal are varied, depending on the company and sector. But thanks to the Department of Employment and Immigration which now falls within the same Ministry, the work will be a little easier. I remain convinced that it will be able to facilitate the transfer of knowledge of foreign workers to their Seychellois counterparts. Thus, over time, the Seychellois will reach high positions and assume higher responsibilities in the various companies established in the country.

Mr President, it will be ten years next year, a decade in other words, that the Seychelles will have embarked on a profound reform of its economy. Throughout these years, economic growth has averaged about 4% per year, and there has been macroeconomic stability. Our foreign exchange reserves have increased, debt has been reduced, and the budget has been balanced. We have become, according to the World Bank classification, the first country in the Indian Ocean to become a high-income country.

However, we must recognize, Mr President, that this growth has not reached all segments of the population and all sectors, such as the agricultural sector. The level of infrastructure development also varies, depending on the district.

At the population level, the quality of life also varies according to the layers. In each of the districts I have visited so far, I have seen real development in some, but also real poverty in others.

That is to say, Mr President, that growth must now be inclusive. Development must be so too, for no strata of our population deserve to be abandoned. The dignity of each of our citizens must, at all costs, be preserved.

Mr President, this will be exactly five years next year, since the National Assembly approved the Public Sector Compensation Act. The time has come to assess the merits and deficiencies in order to make corrections, if necessary.

Mr. Speaker, the level of interest rates on borrowing from the bank is a concern that we all share. The Central Bank's decision to revise the way monetary policy will be implemented will in future have a positive and direct impact on this rate. The application of this new approach has already begun on 19 July.

Every three months, the Central Bank will set a target for the money supply in circulation and this, in turn, will determine whether the interest rate is rising or falling on the financial market. This objective, which has been set since the third quarter, should in principle have a downward impact on the interest rate on loans. This means for individuals that the loan repayment amount should decrease, and for businesses that access to credit will become much more affordable. This is in itself an encouragement to investment.

Obviously such a more 'flexible' monetary policy is fatal to the risk of increasing individual consumption. And the only way to minimize this risk is to observe a certain caution in favoring investment rather than consumption. After all, it is all individuals taken together that form a nation, while the set of businesses and services taken together form an economy. In other words, it means appealing to the sense of responsibility of each of us, which in this matter is as much individual as it is collective.

What is important is that at the banking level, the productive sector should be privileged in terms of credit, especially since investment plays an important role in inclusive growth, which in turn The development of other sectors.

I encourage individuals to make as much investment as possible in August. I say this because in a small economy like Seychelles, which depends heavily on imports, the increase in consumption has a multiplier effect on imports, which in turn leads to a great deal of pressure on the mass of foreign currencies . An increase in the demand for foreign exchange leads to an increase in the price of goods and services, and consequently an increase in the cost of living.

To ensure that price increases do not reach an alarming level, the Central Bank will need to adjust its monetary policy to remain in line with its main objective of ensuring that prices remain at A reasonable level.

Mr President, the aim of the revision of this monetary policy is to boost investment in the economy and at the same time to maintain a stable macroeconomic situation. I therefore appeal to the private sector to ensure that the benefits generated by this monetary policy review are reflected on consumers and contribute to reducing the cost of living.

Mr. President, the Government will continue to strengthen its partnership with all sectors and economic operators. In order for the private sector to plan well and establish a strategic plan, it must be firmly established and have certainty with the country's economic leadership. As announced, the Government will begin to develop a Vision 2032 and a National Development Strategy 2018-2022. Once this Vision and Strategy are adopted, the path will be clearer to indicate exactly where Seychelles will be heading in the long term and how this vision will be implemented together.

Mr President, last May I promised to give more detail on the concept of KIS - Keep It Simple. By simplifying procedures and formalities, we make life easier for all entrepreneurs and all those who depend on government services. This will allow us, for example, to collect more tax revenues without resorting to an increase. The objective is therefore to simplify the collection procedures and make the system fairer in all sectors.

Mr President, we have not had enough time to develop a comprehensive system, to discuss with the private sector the impact of the new changes, and to make the necessary legal amendments so that it can come into force in 2018.

In this context, allow me to announce, Mr. President, that this year there will be no increase in taxes, fees or commissions. This decision is important in that it will strengthen the certainty of the private sector in maintaining its confidence in the national economy and allow it to better plan its operations, which in turn will impact the economy of the country.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance will present the 2018 Budget in October of this year. A date you set yourself, and during which the 'KIS' concept will be presented.

Mr. Speaker, all sectors are important to the national economy. However, I would like to dwell on two specific areas that depend on our food security. These are agriculture and fisheries. It is the government's responsibility to ensure that these sectors have the infrastructure necessary to achieve a high level of production. It is for this reason that the Government has decided to create, from January 2018, a Special Fund of $ 50 million for the development of these infrastructures. A team will be set up to devote itself exclusively to the realization of the projects financed by this Special Fund.

Mr. President, the Government has realized the need to increase the level of intervention of the agencies vis-A�-vis the operators operating in these two sectors. It is also important that the agencies and the authority working with these sectors have the resources and manpower required to ensure their development.

Mr. President, the Government assures you of this commitment that, where there is real poverty, it will deal with it comprehensively. The work done by the Task Force of the Corgate Estate (Intervention Force) is a testimony to this, and it is based on a solid partnership. From this experience, it is necessary to review our policy, improve our programs and services and also change our approach to assistance. A more coordinated approach is needed. A citizen-centered approach aimed at raising the standard of living of our families. What I am sure of, Mr President, is that the Social Welfare Agency must strengthen its resources so that its assistance is not limited to one-off financial action, But is also the object of follow-up and accompaniment of the family. In this regard, the Ministry of Family Affairs will have an important role to play as we change our approach and policy. We can not and should not let anyone abandon. The dignity of each of our citizens must be preserved at all costs.

Mr President, irrespective of what the Government is doing to improve the coordination of social assistance, it seems necessary to increase the amount of financial assistance available. And this will take effect from 1st 2017.

Mr President, we can not talk about the social situation and the preservation of the dignity of everyone, without addressing the issue of housing. This latter situation has reached a critical level. In addition to the measures I announced last February and which are in the process of being implemented, I would like to inform the Assembly that we have decided to make available to the private sector the space needed for the construction of 250 Apartments in Perseverance. This measure demonstrates the Government's desire to focus on housing construction, both in the districts and in the regions.

Mr President, following my discussions with the Government of the United Arab Emirates, there was a commitment to build 400 apartments on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.

All these efforts are undertaken to increase the housing stock to be made available to our citizens, many of whom have already made a lot of sacrifices and have been waiting for a long time.

Mr President, this housing problem is at the root of many of our social problems. I fully understand the situation of the people, but I can assure them that a lot of efforts will be made to resolve this situation.

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that there is a need to put order in the allocation of government lands. The Assembly has already discussed the areas reserved for agriculture and I ask the new Minister who is in charge of this sector to put it once and for all in order. As regards the land under the authority of the Industrial Authority, it is now the responsibility of the Industrial Authority to distribute it in the Industrial Zone. We will be making amendments to the act to bring it in line with this new policy. These amendments will also include a provision for appeal. Before any government land leased to an individual or company can be offered for sale or transferred, The natural or legal person who ensures its enjoyment must first pass before a Commission with the mandate to make recommendations before a final decision is taken by the Government. This approach is in line with the resolution adopted by the National Assembly. And I will appoint the members of the Commission on 1 August next.

Mr President, drugs are a social problem. It affects the health of our people. Sometimes it comes from a problem in the family. It threatens the national security of our country. And it is linked to organized crime in the region. We are a small population and as a mass of workers - the pillar of society - we must resist this scourge that has all the potential to destroy us.

The solution is with us all. And we must take a more coordinated approach in this struggle. The new NDEA team is doing its job. It deserves our support. And we must not interfere in his work. The Government has drafted a new bill to create a special agency to bring together all partners and representatives of key ministries and agencies. Its mandate will be to group them together to deal with the prevention and rehabilitation of victims, not to mention the education and information that the people must have on drugs.

Mr President, the political reality shows us that a new Deputy of the National Assembly is coming, another is leaving; A new Leader of the Opposition arrives and another one leaves; A new Government Affairs Officer arrives and another one leaves. The same is true of the President of the Assembly, a new one arrives and another one leaves. A President arrives, and another leaves. But what remains important is to see each of us exercise his responsibilities in accordance with the oath he has taken. We must do our work honestly and sincerely, put the interest of the Seychelles and those of the nation above all other considerations. And work hard for the Seychelles. We must remain the servants of the Seychellois people.

We are in the process of writing a new chapter, a chapter full of promises for our country, for a Seychelles where we work together to overcome the challenges. Seychelles where differences of opinion are respected; A Seychelles that gathers us all, despite our differences. A Seychelles where everyone has the feeling to live free and proud. A Seychelles that inspires in each of us what is good for others.

In short, a Seychelles that will always be bigger than all of us!

Thank you, Mr. President.

Source: State House, Office of the President of Seychelles

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