Assembly examines, approves budgets for employment, social affairs, ASP and ACCS |25 November 2022
The budget for the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs and that for the Agency for Social Protection (ASP) that also forms part of this portfolio were examined before being approved by the National Assembly yesterday.
The budget allocation for the department of employment and that for the department of social affairs were examined together following which a collective vote was taken together with that of the ministry as a whole for a total sum of R90.710 million. Twenty-one MNAs voted for, none of them voted against while 10 abstained on this budget head.
But the budget for ASP was scrutinized and approved separately while the allocation for the Benefits and Approved Programmes of ASP and the allocation for the Social Workers Council were approved without debate.
During the afternoon, Assembly members scrutinized the budget allocation for the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS) as well as the allocation for the department of Fisheries and the department of the Blue Economy.
Department of employment - R44.784 million
The Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt, was accompanied to the National Assembly to defend her ministry’s budget by the principal secretary for the employment department Jules Baker and principal secretary for social Affairs department Linda William Melanie as well as other key officials from the same ministry.
When introducing the budget for the department of employment – a sum of R44.784 million – Minister Francourt remarked that the year 2022 has been a very busy one for the department of employment and they expect the year 2023 to be the same.
The budget allocation for this department is R44.784 million for 2023 compared to the sum of R37.786 million it received for 2022, an increase of R8.998 million or 25%. A sum of R4.809 million has been earmarked for wages and salaries while R4.190 million will be going towards goods and services. The sum for wages and salaries will also cater for the transfer of five staff members from the Agency for National Human Resource Development (NHRD) to the department of employment as well as for the creation of two new posts in the policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation unit as well as in the productivity unit. The allocation for wages and salaries will also take care of the 13th month pay as well as salary adjustments among other expenses.
Department of social affairs – R45.925 million
The allocation of R45.925 million for this entity has received an increase of R12.952 million compared to the budget allocation for 2022. R2.12 million from wages and salaries will go towards the 13th month pay and salary adjustments while a sum of R812,000 to recruit for nine posts of social workers.
Minister Francourt has also highlighted her ministry’s decision to re-prioritise some of its programmes and services for better results and more positive impacts on the people concerned. Meanwhile the department remains committed to its employees training plan to boost their skills and capacity to meet the increasing demands of society.
Agency for Social Protection – R27.487 million
The allocation for the Agency for Social Protection received the unanimous approval of Assembly members when 28 of them voted for, no one abstained and no one voted against the allocation.
Benefits & Approved Programmes of the ASP – R1,202,876 billion
This allocation also received the unanimous approval of the Assembly members.
Social Workers’ Council – R736,000
This budget line received the unanimous approval of the Assembly without any debate.
Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles – R53.263 million
Following heated debates and arguments among MNAs as some sensitive and contentious issues in relation to the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS) were raised while the budget for this entity was being scrutinized, 21 MNAs voted for the allocation, 10 abstained and no one voted against.
Commissioner May de Silva, finance officer Claudia Mathiot were in the National Assembly yesterday afternoon to defend the budget of the commission.
When giving an overview of the work of the commission, Ms de Silva stressed that the fight against corruption is for all of us and not just for the ACCS.
She noted that the ACCS is delivering on its mandate with the assistance of the police, other local and international partners. Work with the latter will continue for several years according to Ms de Silva and this until Seychelles can produce professionals in; financial and economic crimes, forensic accounting, financial analysts, legal researchers, prosecutors in money laundering and corruption.
She added that for digital forensics the British government is assisting the ACCS with training for three of its staff members.
Ms de Silva went on to stress that staffing for the commission is still a very big issue. A lengthy debate followed as MNAs sought to have various contentious issues related to the ACCS clarified.
Department of Fisheries and department of the Blue Economy – R110.343 million
Following a lengthy debate with heated arguments, the Assembly approved the budget allocation for the department of fisheries and department of the blue economy, two entities that fall under the portfolio of the Ministry of Fisheries.
Altogether 23 MNAs voted for, no one voted against and 10 of them abstained.
Minister Jean-François Ferrari was accompanied by the principal secretaries for the two entities namely Roy Clarrise for fisheries and Keneth Racombo for the blue economy.
Meanwhile today the National assembly will scrutinize and consider the budgets for the department of Tourism, department of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Institute of Early Childhood Development and the Seychelles Qualification Authority.