In the National Assembly |19 November 2021
LDS members approve Appropriation Bill, US vote against
Members of the opposition party in the National Assembly, United Seychelles (US), yesterday voted against the general merits of the Appropriation bill – which proposes a budget of R10,091,651,146 for government expenditures next year.
Nonetheless the Appropriation Bill was approved thanks to the 18 votes in favour from Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) representatives, who holds an absolute majority in the National Assembly, which means that the bill will now continue through to the committee stage before the final vote.
Various ministries, departments, government agencies and other bodies that depend on the government budget will appear before the National Assembly to justify their 2022 budget as from Wednesday, November 24.
Yesterday’s votes did not comes as much of a surprise for those who had been listening in to debates surrounding the budget over the last three days and to the subsequent politically charged response from the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, Naadir Hassan.
Minister Hassan chastised the US MNAs for their stance against the bill, calling them obsessed with winning the next election in 2025 rather than in helping the current government stay the course as the country recovers from the impact of Covid-19.
“The 2022 budget is building on the foundation laid in our 2021 budget. We had a plan because we knew that our priority, once we came into power, would be to bring stability to the economy and make our debt more sustainable. Without this fiscal stability any plans we would have formulated would not have yielded much result,” Minister Hassan observed in his response.
Mr Hassan stressed that the idea that the government is the main party creating wealth in the country is a false concept touted by certain politicians.
“If the private sector falls then so does the government but when the private sector performs well then so does the government. This is why we have to reduce business tax so as to give businesses more opportunities to grow, create more employment opportunities and more wealth that will be distributed in our economy.”
The minister noted that countries which have reported economic success over the years have adopted this principle and this includes Singapore, Mauritius and Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates).
“I understand that the US party does not comprehend this because it believes in spending what we do not have. It is a political party based on populist ideals which they believe will bring them back in power. This is its only objective,” Minister Hassan continued.
Minister Hassan revealed that, on January 4, 2021—mere months after LDS had gained power – he was informed that the government’s account with the Central Bank of Seychelles only contained R14.9 million. This is the same account used to make all of the government’s payments.
“With such news, how were we going to continue on the same path we had been on? We do not need a scientist to answer this question so decisions and actions had to be taken. We were in a critical situation due to expenditures of the US party in its attempt to win the elections,” Minister Hassan said.
Minister Hassan also heavily criticised the previous government for its laissez-faire attitude towards the government coffers, giving his own testimony to how the past government had ignored the advice from technicians in the government such as him. The aim of the US government had been to win the elections first, deal with the accumulated debt later, provided Minister Hassan.
The National Assembly will resume its work next week as it tackles three motions and legislation on Monday, November 22 and Tuesday, November 23.
The committee stage for the Appropriation bill is scheduled to start as from Wednesday, November 24.