In the National Assembly LDS MNAs reject motion by opposition leader to quash SI related to pension increases |17 June 2022
All majority LDS MNAs in the National Assembly voted against a motion by the leader of the opposition Sebastien Pillay calling for the repeal of S.I. 38 published earlier this year that relates to the decision of the Seychelles Pension Fund (SPF) to increase pension contributions.
The motion was in accordance with Section 64(2) of the Interpretation and General Provisions Act calling for the Assembly to resolve that S.I. 38 of 2022 be quashed.
Mr Pillay explained that the S.I. 38 being referred to relates to the decision of the SPF to increase pension contributions.
He said for some time now there has been a lot of talk about the decision by SPF and members of the public are expressing their concerns about the increases they have to contribute as well as the increase in retirement age from 63 to 65 years.
He noted that he has been approached by many people who are not happy about the decisions which they say even though have been accepted have not had enough consultations and that the government had not done enough to consider other views and options on the matter.
“Through this motion I want to send a clear message to the government that the National Assembly will stand alongside the Seychellois people to ensure the government abides by its constitutional obligations which is to consult the people when it comes to taking major decisions that have important impacts and implications on our people.
He said the government has made it clear that its position in relation to the SPF’s decision will not change in spite of the fact that during all this time there has not been any clear presentation with the National Assembly and other than a limited number, no concrete consultations were made with the general Seychellois public.
He noted that among several points raised by different groups of workers include;
- many teachers are seeking early retirement because they don’t want to be caught in the decision to increase retirement age.
He said if the Assembly approved the motion, it will be sending a clear indication to the government that it wants more consultations to explore all factors affecting our people.
“On the basis of principle, this motion is relevant in the context of Seychelles politics but more importantly for governance in Seychelles,” he said.
- employees of the Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA) have also expressed their concerns arguing that the nature of their job does not allow for them to physically continue to work until 65 years.
While he said that he perfectly understands the concerns raised by the SPF, Hon. Pillay said he feels that the present economic context and situation call for the decisions to be analysed and considered differently from when they were first announced in 2017 because he feels that the Seychellois people are not getting a fair deal.
Members of the majority LDS party argued that the decisions were long overdue and that a responsible government has to take decisions which are not popular but would be fruitful in the future.
For his part LDS MNA for Beau Vallon John Hoareau used his privilege under the Assembly Standing Orders to call for debate on the motion to be postponed to allow the SPF to make a presentation on the merits of its decisions to Assembly members.
Speaker Roger Mancienne allowed Mr Hoareau’s motion stating that the SPF has not had the opportunity to make a presentation before the House.
For her part opposition MNA for Anse Royale Sylvanne Lemiel noted that a presentation by the SPF at this stage is too late as they should have asked to make a presentation long before the S.I.38 was published and before the motion to quash it had been tabled.
Hon. Pillay stated that by bringing the motion to postpone debate Hon. Hoareau had abused his privilege under the Standing Orders and that Speaker Mancienne’s decision was unfair.
After lengthy debates by members from both sides, all LDS MNAs voted against Hon. Pillay’s motion.