New Year message from interim president of One Seychelles, Peter Sinon |04 January 2021
‘In unity we can surmount the challenges Covid-19 has thrown in our path’
“The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic year is about to come to an end. History will refer to the terrible 2020’s many decades and even centuries after we’re all gone. Its devastating and profound adverse impacts on our ways of life and on the global economy will be at the centre of the reflections and analyses that historians will highlight given the magnitude of the consequences.
“The demise of the travel and tourism sector being our prime foreign exchange earner is very quickly resulting in the running down of our foreign exchange reserves in our Central Bank. Commensurately, our national debt is progressively inching to unsustainable levels, while the Seychelles Rupee has already experienced a 60% depreciation against other major currencies.
“As an overwhelmingly import-dependent country, those major foreign currencies that are quickly getting to be in shorter supply, results in inflationary pressures that is driving up the cost of living to unaffordable levels.
“The most vulnerable households, for which almost 100% of their disposable income go towards sustenance (food, rent or housing loan, utilities, transport…etc) find it almost impossible to make ends meet on the prevalent, static incomes. The situation is approaching to a point where one would consider oneself very lucky and privileged to be in employment and have an income as insufficient as it may be. The writing is on the wall for an economic doom and gloom for our economy is clear for all to see.
“Yet, the silver lining on this overhanging dark cloud is that it is highly possible that we say goodbye to the pandemic year 2020 without having lost one life to this horrible disease. In a large part, this is due to the hard work of the Public Health Commissioner and his team to whom we are eternally grateful. However, they worked in an environment where HEALTH SERVICES are freely available to all. It is a Seychellois human right and that we too often take for granted, yet it is also an essential part of our abilities to cope and manage the pandemic!
“As we enter the New Year 2021 and we embark on efforts to redress our socio-economic situation in partnership with institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is essential that the ‘Team Seychelles’ that is selected to negotiate our reform package is one that is conscious and cognizant of some of our hard earned socio-economic gains.
“Those milestones have over decades held us in good stead and they continue to do so now. So every policy re-adjustment that will be tabled and there will be multiple of them, ‘Team Seychelles’ should consider the impacts on the Seychellois. Their objectives should not waver from securing a structural adjustment with a human face at the end of the process.
“Placing the Seychellois at the centre of the negotiations will ensure that we encourage and secure their buy-in and that we successfully do this together.
“Se avek en lespri e en krwayans senser ki ‘Sesel i pour tou son zanfan’ ki nou tou nou devret ‘Koste’ pour nou sirmont tou bann defi ki devan nou. Akoz apre tou, nou ‘En Sel Sesel’.
“Wishing everyone a very reflective and engaging New Year 2021. We all know that things will probably get a bit worse before it gets better.
“Let’s brace up and man up to all the challenges that we will have to surmount. Let’s do it together, in harmony, peace and with a strong resolve to succeed for ourselves and for our children.
“Our resilience will surely be tested to its limit and I strongly believe that we have what it takes to come through. We may be a bit bruised and battered, but we will emerge standing upright and stronger, proudly, as Seychellois as we are!
Interim President of One Seychelles