Minister for fisheries clarifies as 14 employees resign from SFA |15 September 2021
The minister responsible for fisheries yesterday confirmed before the National Assembly that since he took responsibility of the ministry 10 months ago, 14 employees from the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) have submitted their resignation.
Designated Minister Jean François Ferrari has also said that he does not foresee any negative impact of this on the functions and operations of the SFA as the authority has over the years attached a lot of importance on training and personal development of all its employees to ensure that they are all well equipped to deliver in their functions at all times.
Minister Ferrari also informed the National Assembly that the 14 vacant positions have already been filled after an interview process had been carried out and completed and that the remaining vacant positions are being advertised and the most appropriately qualified candidates will be selected.
The Assembly members received those details and clarifications after the leader of the opposition, Sebastien Pillay, had asked the minister a private notice question to clarify the circumstances surrounding the resignation and the staffing situation at the SFA in view of the importance of the authority to the country’s economy.
Minister Ferrari noted that when he assumed responsibility of the ministry together with the management they set two targets for the authority.
“The first target was to bring stability and a new direction in an institution which has been drifting without control for too long. The second target was to introduce more efficiency and a good service delivery to benefit all clients who are essentially fishermen as well as the government,” Minister Ferrari explained.
“I’ve always let all the employees of the SFA know that I support them, I want to see them develop, flourish, deliver better quality service and fly to greater heights. So I believe when employees decide to leave the authority either to explore other pastures or for personal reasons we cannot stop them but rather we thank them and wish them luck. When somebody like Vincent Lucas (chief fisheries officer at SFA) who has worked with the authority for 24 years expressed the desire to leave, of course we will miss him and his experience but there is nothing else we can do and life goes on,” Mr Ferrari highlighted.
But in a supplementary question, Mr Pillay pointed out that if the minister does not find anything wrong when qualified senior managers decide to leave an organisation in droves, he himself cannot say much more on the issue. But he went on to ask Minister Ferrari what are the true conditions/situations which are causing the employees to resign noting that there are different allegations circulating for instance in relation to the minister’s different approach, concerns raised by employees with regard to different goings on in the authority among other issues which he said employees have raised.
To those, Minister Ferrari said he will not answer to any allegations but told Mr Pillay that he should have brought concrete facts but he noted though that the situation is understandable when changes are taking place.
“Our whole nation is going through a period of change and change has always been difficult to accept because very often it disrupts many people from their comfort zone and it always brings situations that we are not used to. But change is taking place and we have no choice but to live with it and accept it.
“It is also a fact that over the past years, through the kind of disorderly and chaotic management at the SFA which has seen four different chief executives during a period of five years, when I took over I discovered a difficult situation at the authority,” Minister Ferrari said.
He admitted that while the majority of the employees have left for reasons already mentioned, one employee was asked to resign for disciplinary reasons while there are others who have been involved in fraudulent activities. But he informed Assembly members that the SFA has a disciplinary committee which hears all employees’ concerns and that all procedures for exit interviews have been followed.
Meanwhile the minister also noted that the SFA has a new board chaired by Radley Weber since earlier this year and a new CEO in the person of Nichol Elizabeth who has worked in the private sector for many years and who has taken over the running of the SFA even before he assumed the position of minister.
He remarked that both Mr Weber and Mr Elizabeth have brought in another way of doing and managing things through their experiences from the private sector.
“We inherited an authority which was not functioning as it should but together with all the employees we have done a great job turning it around and for the past 10 months the employees have proven their worth and they are delivering to the required standard,” Minister Ferrari affirmed.
He went on to stress that if 14 out of 216 employees decide to move on, it is not a situation that should be dramatised but rather those who stay should be encouraged and valorised as they are doing a good job to bring more money in government coffers.
He noted that in 2019 the SFA gave the government R25 million, in 2020 R50 million and for this year they are forecasting a sum of R75 million and this is through hard work, quality service and more efficiency.
Meanwhile Minister Ferrari has called on all employees of the SFA to come forward and voice any concerns they may have to the management in all confidentiality.