Car hire association discusses challenges with President Ramkalawan |18 August 2021
Members of the Seychelles Car Hire Operators Association met with President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House yesterday where they addressed the slew of challenges currently affecting the car hire operators.
Vincent Padayachy, the association’s chairperson, explained that meeting with the president was the association’s last resort, after seeing no progress with relevant authorities and departments.
The main issue discussed was the new pay-parking system implemented at the Seychelles International Airport by the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority which is a cause of concern for car rental companies operating there.
“We called on the president to hold a meeting with us because our association was beating its head against a brick wall since the letters we have written to certain authorities have gone without any response or acknowledgement. The association was able to meet with the president very quickly and it seems that it is easier to meet with the president than with a CEO or a minister,” stated Mr Padayachy.
In regards to the airport parking issue, Mr Padayachy noted that car rental companies are an integral part of the tourism industry and should be able to operate in an ideal business environment, which is not the case with the present airport situation.
“Unfortunately, it has become more difficult for car hires to deliver this service at the airport ‒ they have tied our hands. We did not encounter this problem when the airport was smaller and parking was limited, but now with much more parking spaces we have discovered it difficult to park our rental cars there and provide cars to our customers,” explained Mr Padayachy.
“Instead cars now have to be parked by the road side near the fuel station or on the way from the highway, just before the airport, even though the parking inside the airport is empty. And even when we put this before the SCAA, the authority does not listen so we had to come to the president with the hopes that SCAA will finally listen,” he added.
Mr Padayachy noted that authorities should not impose their fait accompli on affected parties without holding proper discussions where their concerns are addressed.
In yesterday’s meeting with President Ramkalawan, the car hire association also discussed how car rental companies should not have to pay the sometimes exorbitant taxes when purchasing cars, especially in the current economy, since they have to replace a rental car every eight years.
“There should be an arrangement for the car hires. We cannot be treated like an individual because we are buying more cars than they are. We have not acquired new cars in 2020 or 2021, and I do not see operators buying new cars in 2022,” said Mr Padayachy.
Car rental companies have noted an improvement in business post lockdown but most are operating at around 40 to 50% their full capacity and obstacles such as black market rentals of cars and scooters are not helping the issue.
The delegation from the Seychelles Car Hire Operators Association also comprised its treasurer Vasenda Auguste, acting secretary Sandra Ally and two members, Carl Payet and Simon Hoareau.