Independence House Annex officially opened |30 June 2016
• One-stop investment hub for government services
The newly opened Independence House Annex has been conceived so that Independence House could be a one-stop hub for government services serving investors and investment.
The official inauguration of the Independence House Annex building took place on Tuesday as part of activities to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Seychelles Independence Day and the start of a new era for private and public partnerships (PPP) in Seychelles.
President James Michel cut the ribbon to officially open the building and was afterwards accompanied by Vice-President Danny Faure and the Minister for Land Use and Housing Christian Lionnet as he unveiled the commemorative plaque.
Present during the ceremony was Designated Minister Vincent Meriton, other ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, members of the National Assembly and other distinguished guests.
Construction of the annex block which was undertaken by Green Island Construction Company (GICC) started in November 2014 and under the PPP arrangement, government provided the land while Green Tree Investment raised financing for the building.
It was designed by Zoran Vucksanovic from WSP Engineering firm and MLUH architect Danny Souffre.
Government will rent the office space for the period of recovery of the investment (which is expected to be around nine years), after which the building will revert back as government property.
The planning authority, land registrar, immigration division, lands division are already based in the old building.
The multi-storey annex block completes this hub with other investment related services and it houses the Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development (5th & 4th floors), the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship Development & Business Innovation (3rd floor), the Seychelles Investment Bureau (2nd floor), the maritime boundary delimitation (2nd floor) and the planning authority (1st floor).
The ground floor remains parking space for both buildings, while the 6th floor level holds a conference or meeting facility which offers breath-taking 360 degree views of Victoria.
The project represents around 3600 sqm of government office space.
The Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship Development & Business Innovation Michael Benstrong said the Independence House Annex stands as a powerful symbol of what the New Seychelles is about and opens up a new space for commitment and importance, designed to meet the increasing demand and expectations of the people of Seychelles.
“Its name and the date of its inauguration remind us of where we have come from and what we have achieved. As we go upwards aiming for the sky it is also a powerful sign of where we are going as a nation,” he said.
He said this government has given this nation a new infrastructure; a new building which will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for investors -- local and foreign, big or small -- who are coming for advice and guidance as they are conscious of the public service office deficit in our country which is to some extent limiting our efficiency.
“This is why both government and the private sector need to continue to work hard, even harder to bridge this deficit. We want to cut costs for business and create a culture of personal responsibility, both at government and individual levels, and that involve deregulation and the cutting of red tape that blocked initiative and added to the burden of businesses,” he added.
The deputy chief executive of GICC, Veronique Herminie, said this beautiful building which is now an icon in town, is the first ‘new build’ project for the government with a private sector partner and the second under a ‘build operate and transfer’ project for GICC.
She said the days where building contractors could only partner on government projects by waiting for contract awards or tenders under annual budget allocations are gone.
“We now have other avenues for investment which in time could reap greater rewards. Infrastructure and building development projects shall also no longer have to compete for the meager funds against other important priorities such as health, education, housing and social welfare projects or services,” she said.
She also took the opportunity to thank the partners, sub-contractors and stakeholders who have all ensured the timely completion of the project.