Cabinet approves National Industrial Policy 2023 – 2028 |15 September 2023
President Wavel Ramkalawan chaired a scheduled meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday September 13 in which a number of legal and policy memoranda were approved.
Among them was the National Industrial Policy 2023 – 2028, which aims at promoting a sustainable economic transformation by diversifying into higher value added and green industries that offer attractive employment for Seychellois.
The new policy also looks to support the country’s agenda, at the moment in time, to diversify and enhance its economic resilience.
In a press briefing at State House yesterday, Vice-President Ahmed Afif explained that the policy will specifically look at what is going on in the country’s industrial sector at the moment and find ways to improve on it, so as to create job opportunities and wealth.
He stated that from mid-80s to the 90s, Seychelles’ industrial policy was based on identifying industries for exportation, which saw the formation of the International Trade Zone (ITZ), the creation of the Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT) canning factory, and many other companies involved in production such as tomato sauce, juices, milk products, and bottled waters among others, to cut down on foreign exchange.
“As we stand today, we see that other countries around us are also developing their industries. Although not all of our industries will have the advantage for value-added production, there are some with niche products, such as the Takamaka Bay rum for example, which is among one of the best rum in the world. Also in renewable energy, conservation, construction and tourism, where I think Seychellois can have the advantage for value-added products, job creation, transformation and wealth,” said VP Afif.
He noted it was normal practice in all countries to revise their industrial policies due to development and the evolution happening in the industry.
Cabinet also approved the proposal to amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, 2022 to permit the President to designate any other relevant statutory body as an approved authority for requesting mutual assistance in criminal matters from other jurisdictions.
The Act creates a framework that provides for how mutual assistance can be rendered or requested by Seychelles from or to other countries in order to assist each other in the investigation and prosecution of serious criminal offences. Currently, the Office of the Attorney General is the only designated authority with the power to make and respond to requests for mutual assistance in criminal matters.
“This is all part of the mordernisation as part of exchange of information on handling criminal matters between Seychelles and other countries. Essentially the change is that we designate through an SI, which the president has authority to do, that there can be other authorities in Seychelles. So, they can request information directly with other competing authorities overseas, but keeping the competent authority in Seychelles, which is the Attorney General, briefed on all transactions,” explained VP Afif.
Cabinet has also approved the draft agreement between Turkey and Seychelles on Trade and Economic Cooperation. The agreement provides scope for better bilateral cooperation and exchange of information in relation to trade and economic matters between the two countries.
Through the agreement, the two governments will seek to strengthen cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, agriculture and livestock development, fisheries, energy and mineral resources, industry and small-medium sized enterprises development, science and technology, tourism development, human resources development, and intellectual property rights.
Cabinet also approved for Seychelles to enter into a Custom Cooperation Agreement with Turkey as a means of enhancing communication, capacity building and exchange of information between the countries’ customs authorities. This will play an important role in trade facilitation and border control, by eliminating inefficiencies and improving cross border coordination and security.
Cabinet was also updated on developments and progress relating to Seychelles Multilateral Agreement with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Regional Agreements with Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Cabinet appreciated that Seychelles has seen significant benefits of engaging commitments in trade agreements, such as increased market access to international markets for Seychelles’ exports, as well as favourable importing conditions. The trade agreements signed by Seychelles are based on the principles of transparency, non-discrimination, trade facilitation, code of good practice and ease of doing business.
A new business model for the Seychelles Postal Services (SPS) was also approved by cabinet which seeks to re-position the SPS as a key logistics player in the region, facilitating local and international e-commerce and using the already available network of airline connectivity to bring economic development for the country and improved services for the citizens.
Vice-President Afif said that given the evolution in digital communication and commerce which have killed off the corresponding mail and commerce tradition via post offices, SPS has opted to venture into the courier service among other services including as a distribution hub to other countries.
“The idea for this new business model is for them to refrain from being dependent on a government-budget. Government is spending between R5 million and R6 million to subsidise SPS and the new model is how they anticipate to make their revenue and even make profits to pay back government,” VP Afif stated.
Patrick Joubert/Press release from State House