Follow us on:

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube


Retailers call for a better deal against wholesalers   |17 February 2023

Retailers call for a better deal against wholesalers   

The meeting in progress

Question wholesalers’ license terms and conditions and sale to the public


The Retailers Association of Seychelles (RAS) has said that wholesalers/distributors should be selling their wholesale items only to licensed retailers and individual or groups and the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA) should ensure this is stipulated clearly in their license terms and conditions.

The comments were made at the end of a half-day meeting organised by RAS at the International Conference Centre yesterday morning which was attended by a large group of retailers and wholesalers, as well as some wholesalers/distributors and SLA representatives.

Speaking to the media, the association’s chairman, Ramesh Pillay, said the wholesale business was squeezing out the retail business and adversely impacting on them.

He pointed out that one of their main concerns was the distribution and sale of alcohol, where retailers have to respect specific sale time and venue to conduct their business, whereas wholesalers, which most are based at the free zone area, managed by the Seychelles International Business Authority (Siba), are not bonded by these conditions.

Mr Pillay said this not only gives anyone, regardless of age, access to alcohol but allow them to sell to the public without a license.

“Blocking the market street, and telling us to sell elsewhere does not resolve the issue. The issue is not to restrict us from selling alcohol but rather law and order, which is an issue in the country,” said Mr Pillay.

He also questioned the quality and standards of some products being sold at wholesale, compared to some that are available locally like fresh meat products.

“We want to sell good, quality products to consumers. But do we know where these items come from? Are they of high quality and should we not rely on healthy and fresh meat from local producers?” questioned Mr Pillay.

Another point raised by RAS was the free zone area being used for wholesale area, and whether it was mostly Seychellois or foreigners involved in this business.

“We are not saying close down the free zone but we are questioning the purpose and role of the free zone and why are they competing with the local retailers,” he added.

The association’s secretary, Dean Padayachy, told the media that this was a longstanding issue and the parties needed to find a common ground and ensure a win-win situation.

He referred to a recent incident last year, where expired poultry were dumped at the landfill and retrieved by passersby, posing as wholesalers, who sold them to consumers, leading to cases of food poisoning in the country.

He said in order to prevent such incidents, SLA should ensure that licenses are provided to everyone willing to do business and stressed on the importance that only licensed individuals or businesses should be able to purchase from wholesalers/distributors.

“We know their license allow them to sell to anyone right now but we want the SLA to review this and add this to the wholesale license. A wholesaler can sell to licensed retailers, or an individual, family or group can get their license, to consume wholesale items. It is only when you have your license that you will be allowed to purchase at wholesale,” said Mr Padayachy.

For his part, Chandra Sekaran, a retailer from ‘Kot Dalon’ shop in La Misère, said the terms and conditions imposed on them were unfair as it put them at a disadvantage to the wholesalers.

“As retailers we need to provide bins and parking spaces, but they are selling items/goods as well, and these are not stipulated in their conditions. In the past we would have small businesses, take-aways, restaurants buying their items from us and now they will always turn to wholesalers, even for lemonades,” said Mr Sekaran.

“Wholesalers are selling alcohol from 8am onward, where is the law? We want a fair deal for everybody,” added Mr Sekaran

Seychelles NATION spoke to a former retailer, Uma Ramani, who owns Grocers and who used to be in the retail business but is now in wholesale. She said the market dynamic has changed and “there was a shift in people moving towards buying wholesale because we are much cheaper than the retail prices, and customers are more cautious about where they want to shop”.

She said at present, their license allows them to sell to anyone. «Our license clearly states we are well within our rights to sell to anybody we want, be it a retailer, a business or individual. It does not give us a certain restriction on the quantity that we can sell, whether it is in cartons or pieces,” said Mrs Ramani.

For another wholesaler, Manoj Parayarikkal, the matter needs more consultations to find a common solution and ensure a win-win for both.

Seychelles NATION had asked the SLA for its comments but had not received a response at the time of going to press.

RAS said the discussions with the parties will continue in a fortnight. The stakeholders also include the Seychelles Trading Company, the ministries responsible for trade as well as investment.


Patsy Canaya

Photos by Joena Meme

More news