Appropriations for Lands and Housing ministry and related agencies approved |01 December 2021
The National Assembly yesterday approved the budget appropriations for the Ministry of Lands and Housing, and entities under the ministry, namely, the Planning Authority and Seychelles Infrastructure Agency (SIA).
The Ministry of Lands and Housing has been appropriated a sum of R95,018 million, as compared to R80 million in 2021. As explained by VP Afif, the R15 million increment makes provisions for a R2.4 million increase in wages and salaries, R360,000 in goods and services, and the biggest chunk of R12 million in non-financial assets, or capital projects.
The increment in wages and salaries covers the absorption of ten accounting staff from the Ministry of Finance under the ministry as well as a senior legal officer, while the increase in capital projects provides for a transfer of sums from the now closed Société Seychelloise D'Investissement Ltd, for the repayment of a plot of land at a cost of around R1 million monthly. The appropriation also provides for the recruitment of two additional surveyors, a communications and information manager, and office assistant.
With regard to the GIS system, principal secretary for housing Denis Barbé clarified that there is no budgetary provision towards the GIS system this year, although the 2021 budget did so.
As for the Planning Authority, the entity was allocated R16,400 million and for 2022 its budget is R16,500 million, around R91,000 difference. The appropriation was passed with 28 votes in favour.
Similarly to the management budget for the ministry, the increment is attributed to a R125,000 increase in the wages and salary head, while the provision for goods and services has this year been reduced by R33,000, mainly due to smaller allocations for maintenance and repairs, and other uses of goods and services, which have been reduced by R81,000 as compared to last year’s budget, to honour a service agreement for one employee to perform maintenance of archives duties, as opposed to two staff as was the case last year.
Other increments in the entity’s budget include R9000 in office expenses, R54,000 in transportation costs, and R2000 for minor capital works.
Additionally, the assembly voted to approve the R480,178 allocation to the Seychelles Infrastructure Agency (SIA), a newly created entity with the mandate of managing and overseeing government construction and maintenance projects. VP Afif explained that the allocation for capital projects has almost doubled as compared to 2021, with the planned construction of Government House at a cost of R215 million, representing almost half of the capital project allocation. The design of the facility has been finalised, and was completed abroad.
The budget appropriations provide for R39 million for wages and salaries covering the transfers of 67 project officers from four different governmental departments, namely, healthcare, local government, Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA) and the Ministry of Education, and other staff already working within the ministry. An appropriation of R3.3 million applies to goods and services, including housing for 11 quantity surveyors, office expenses at a budgeted sum of R139,000 and transportation at a sum of R241,000.
Acting principal secretary for infrastructure Jutesh Shah clarified to the assembly allocations for special housing development projects to a sum of R16.8 million which is applicable to carry forward and complete ongoing 24/24 housing projects. As for the allocation of R20.3 million for 32 social housing units, it is up to the lands department to decide where the projects are realised, although possible sites have been identified at Anse Aux Pins and Ile Aurore. Over the course of 2022, another project located at Dan Banbou to a sum of R11.7 million has been allocated for the development of road infrastructure, to service up to 60 plots.
Government is in the meantime exploring financing options in order to start and complete numerous housing projects.
The appropriation was approved by 23 votes in favour. Seven members abstained from the vote.