Assembly approves budget of four entities under Ministry of Internal Affairs |19 November 2022
Four entities which are part of the portfolio of the Ministry of Internal Affairs had their proposed budget allocations for next year examined and approved by members of the National Assembly yesterday afternoon.
The vote on these budget heads were taken collectively following a lengthy debate.
Twenty-one MNAs voted for, no one voted against and two members abstained on the total sum which amounted to R701.185 million.
The budget for the Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency was considered and approved separately.
Minister Errol Fonseka, who heads the ministry, was in the National Assembly together with the different heads and other senior officials of these entities to present the different allocations and answer the MNA’s questions and clarify the different issues that were raised.
Disaster Risk Management Division (DRMD) - R13.150 million
Minister Fonseka said the allocation for DRMD has received an increase of R2.4 million which will cover wages and salaries for a sum of R1.259 milion, goods and services R1.143 million.
Questions raised related to the critical shortage of employees at the division to which the director general of the division, Robert Ernesta, admitted that they have only 18 employees and efforts are underway to address the issue. The need for a risk & vulnerability profiling on which Mr Ernesta said two DRMD staff are working with the World Bank (WB) to carry out the study. With regard to a question surrounding the need of an emergency plan for different departments, Mr Ernesta said it is the responsibility of all MDAs to produce their emergency plan but the DRMD will provide support and monitoring.
Meanwhile Mr Ernesta has informed Assembly members that during the first quarter of next year the DRMD will start working on two strategic emergency plans for the port and airport. Additionally he said a programme is being finalised with the WB for its support on the two emergency plans.
“We expect to conduct a live exercise to test the plans of the two entities,” Mr Ernesta informed assembly members.
Other points of concern raised included need to handle risk of vegetation in public areas, procurement of necessary equipment and protective clothing among different other risks, disaster prevention and management in the different districts as well as on the national level and need for more volunteers to help.
Department of Immigration and Civil Status - R42.316 million
The allocation for next year has been reduced by R20.6 million from the 2022 budget.
The reduction is in the allocation for goods and services as well as a sum earmarked for the biometric passport, a project already being put in place this week.
Alain Volcère, the principal secretary for the immigration department, was present to answer members’ questions on this budget head. Other concerns raised included need for public input in citizenship review exercise, need to improve and raise standard of service for arriving and departing visitors and local citizens, various issues related to the biometric passport, border control and need for enforcement team to verify authenticity of documents of all foreigners in our country.
“We do have a staff shortage for the enforcement teams but we try to include the police and other agencies as well as public tip-offs to react on this matter,” Minister Fonseka said.
Seychelles Prison Service - R104.861 million
The budget allocation for this entity has received an increase of approximately R9.4 million from which a little over R4 million will cater for wages and salaries and the remaining sum of around R6 million will go towards goods and services.
Minister Fonseka was accompanied by the Commissioner of Prisons, Raymond St Ange, to answer Assembly members’ questions on this budget head. These were related to the huge budget increase for rented vehicles, foreigners working at the prisons, procurement of food supplies to the prison, creation of a juvenile centre and youth offender facility for Praslin, reintegration programmes for prisoners, decrease in board allowance fees among numerous other issues related to the prison.
Department of Police - R524.614 million
A proposed budget of R524.614 million has been allocated to the department of police for the year 2023 and Minister Fonseka said there has been an increase of R95.834 million which will cater for wages and salaries, goods and services. A sum of R23.65 million has been earmarked for wages and salaries and some new recruitments.
The Commissioner of Police, Ted Barbe, along with other key officials were in the Assembly to answer members questions.
Seychelles Fire & Rescue Services Agency budget of R76.832 million gets MNAs unanimous approval
Altogether 22 MNAs yesterday afternoon voted for the proposed budget of the Seychelles Fire & Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA) for next to a sum of R76.832 million.
Presenting that allocation Minister Fonseka said that it has been decreased by R4.43 million compared to the 2022 budget. But in its allocation for next year, an increase of R6.74 million will take care of 13th month pay , recruitment of new officers, salaries for officers on island posting among other expenses.
Newly appointed chief fire officer Tally Domingue, her deputy Jones Madeleine and other key officers from the Agency were also present in the Nation Assembly to answer MNAs questions.
Meanwhile on Monday the Assembly will continue its sessions when it will consider the budgets of The Office of the President, the Department of Defence, the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (including the new authority ‘Seychelles Communication Regulatory Authority’) and the Office of the Public Service Appeals Board.