Getting to know our ministers … Finance, Economic Planning and Trade Minister Naadir Hassan |23 November 2020
‘My priority is to stabilise the economy and prepare the country for economic recovery’
Seychelles has a new cabinet with 13 new ministers appointed. While some of them are familiar faces, a few others were not in the limelight. In an effort to better acquaint ourselves with the new cabinet, Seychelles NATION will be sharing with its readers the profile of each minister on a regular basis.
The third minister we are portraying is Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade Naadir Hassan. He is the second youngest of the cabinet and he has the hot seat right now with the current economic crisis we are facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Seychelles NATION:Who is Minister Naadir Hassan?
Minister Hassan: A 38-year-old Seychellois from Anse Royale, married with two daughters aged 4 and 9 years old. In fact both my parents were born and raised at Anse Royale. My mother is a retired teacher and my father who passed away about a decade ago owned a snack business in the same district. By profession I am a banker and economist. What I enjoy doing the most in my spare time is fishing, apart from watching football (fervent Liverpool fan).
Seychelles NATION:Tell our readers about your journey from childhood to your young adult years. What did you study and why?
Minister Hassan: My childhood was spent with my young brother who is my only sibling, and cousins at the Anse Royale beach, since my grandparents’ house was by the sea. Like most boys I played football but I also did quite a bit of reading and watched movies.
My education years started at Anse Royale school until S1, then I continued my secondary education at Independent School.
In post secondary I did my A-Levels at the Seychelles Polytechnic and after successful completion I was awarded with a scholarship for under graduate studies. My childhood ambition was to study law, but at Polytechnic I was advised that Seychelles was saturated with lawyers and hence had to opt for another field. At the time the Manchester Twinning programme was being initiated and hence I applied to study International Business, Finance and Economics at University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. Minister Hassan holds also a Master’s Degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Stirling, Scotland.
Apart from my studies, during the teenage years I had to help my dad with his business since he was sick. Through this business I managed to acquire some pastry skills which I am today grateful for as my daughters love pastry snacks and my eldest is already baking cakes by herself.
Seychelles NATION:Please tell us more about your professional life.
Minister Hassan: Upon graduation from the Manchester University I joined the policy and strategy department at the Ministry of Finance as a policy analyst and then got promoted to senior policy analyst. At Finance I was part of the team that initiated discussions to start the process of joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and also other trade agreements for example with the European Union. I also initiated the process for significant liberalisation of tariffs. After two years at Finance, I moved to the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) as a public debt officer and shortly transferred to financial services supervision as a financial services analyst. I rose through the ranks as a senior financial services analyst, director and ultimately head of the department. At CBS I was part of the technical working team on the 2008 economic reform programme supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
As the head of the financial services supervision, I undertook a significant reform to upgrade the financial services supervision framework and bringing it in line with international standards. I also formed part of numerous high-level committees at the Central Bank responsible for monetary policy implementations, international reserves investments and management, risk management and human resources policy development. I have represented the CBS at numerous national initiatives, such as at the financial sector development, whereby I chaired the technical committee. To note I was also vice chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) sub committee on banking supervision. After 14 years at CBS, in mid 2020, I moved to the private sector more specifically to Cable & Wireless Seychelles as chief digital and risk officer.
Seychelles NATION: Tell us more about your family life.
Minister Hassan:I consider myself as a family man and my wife and children are my priorities. Despite of professional commitments over the years whereby I had to travel often, but I always ensure that we spend quality time when we are together. My wife is a Diguoise so La Digue is one of our preferred holiday destinations and the kids enjoy life on the island. The children love swimming, tennis and baking so that’s usually what we try to do on weekends.
Seychelles NATION:And now being appointed a minister what will be your main duty and how accessible will you be to the public?
Minister Hassan: As the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade my immediate priority as we go through these challenging times and unchartered territory is to stabilise the economy and prepare the country for economic recovery. With the support of my finance team, all partners including members of the public I believe that together we can go through this. As soon as I sworn in as the minister I scheduled meetings with all stakeholders and this is being done on a regular basis as in this economic crisis we do not have time to waste. I also meet members of the public on Thursdays.
Compiled by Vidya Gappy