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President pledges to make it easier for small firms to grow

presPresident James Michel has said as from next year he will focus on the mechanisms and structures in place so as to provide opportunities to both small and medium businesses to develop and move forward more quickly.

President Michel was speaking during a visit yesterday to several small businesses in the Anse aux Pins and Au Cap districts.

The president said not only do the businesses need to grow and expand, but there are also credit facilities that need to be put into place.

He informed everyone on the plans already in place by the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation for future macro-credits.

“This is good but now we need to put these plans into action,” he said, stressing that as from next year he will focus strongly on the mechanisms and structures in place so that those small and medium businesses can move forward more quickly.

Another constraint is the financial structures in the country which are not up to standard in assisting those businesses to develop.

“This is where we need to re-look at certain structures at DBS (Development Bank of Seychelles), small businesses and even work jointly with commercial banks so they can re-look into their schemes to make it easier for people to obtain a loan,” the president said.

First, he said, their interest rates are too high, secondly they ask for unrealistic collaterals like mortgaging of lands but also for things like guarantors, deposits, just to name some.

“A small business cannot afford all these things. So it prevents or stops his wish to develop,” said President Michel, pledging solutions to these problems so that Seychellois businesses can flourish.

“I will push quickly for the introduction of a new tax structure so that those who are earning less will pay less tax and those earning more will pay a bit more tax so that there is a better equilibrium and also reduce the gap between the lower income people and the higher income ones. This will ensure that everybody benefit from the creation of wealth,” said the president after touring those small businesses and interacting with the owners.

Also present were the Minister of Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation Michael Benstrong; the principal secretary for Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation Marise Berlouis; the members of the National Assembly for Anse aux Pins and Au Cap, Meggy Marie and Murielle Marie respectively; the two districts’ administrators Sibylla Mederick (for Anse aux Pins) and Doris Esther (for Au Cap).

The businesses visited ranged from day care centre, barber shops and hair dressing salon, to steel fixing workshop, bakeries, sewing workshop, garage, Val de Pres craft village and self catering establishments.

“All these businesses and establishments that I have visited want to expand.

They want to grow. So it is good for the economy. It is good for the people of Seychelles,” said President Michel, adding that this enhances the size of the wealth cake so that everybody gets a bigger share.

But he also stressed that each district has its own specificities and own issues therefore the same thing cannot be seen when visiting.

But he said they all shared a common vision – to grow, to become bigger, to expand, either at their own home or elsewhere with more space.

“All those businesses I have visited said they want to grow and expand. Again I believe this is a good sign, a good thing, as it shows that the Seychelles economy is growing. And I have always emphasised that for us to reach a higher level than we are today, we have to create more wealth, we have to grow, we have to become bigger. And for that to benefit everyone, we have to provide opportunities for small businesses to do better,” said the president.

“We have always stressed that Seychellois need to take ownership of their economy and tourism industry. So we must create all the means and facilities to make it easy for them to do so,” he stressed.

As demand for business locations is very high, President Michel mentioned the completion of the micro-enterprise building at Providence and a new one to be constructed soon at Ile du Port to cater principally for smaller garages. Larger ones will need plots of land for such a purpose and the government is working on that, while reminding all of the scarcity of available land.

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