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“Put our differences aside and strengthen our national unity. One country. One people.”

“Put our differences aside and strengthen our national unity. One country. One people.” ( On the occasion of Seychelles National Day on June 29, celebrating 39 years since the independence of the Republic of Seychelles, President James Michel spoke of the importance of peace and national unity, in an address at Stad Linite, where the National Day parade took place this afternoon.

The President of Palau, HE Tommy Esang Remengesau, was the guest of honor at the celebration.

For the first time in the Third Republic, Seychelles today celebrates its national day on the day of its independence, as was announced by President Michel last year.

During his address, the President recalled June 29, 1976 as “That moment of joy. That moment of glory, that moment of hope which all Seychellois had been waiting for and sharing. A grand date with our destiny.”

“At midnight on the 29th of June 1976, President James Mancham and Prime Minister Albert René – the two great personalities of the history of Seychelles, two whom we pay a special tribute tonight – saluted the new Seychelles flag as it rose slowly and proudly, while the Union Jack was lowered. A republic was born. A colony was no more. We, Seychellois, took our destiny into our own hands. We were aware that the road ahead of us would be long and difficult. We were aware of the challenges ahead, but we were determined to overcome them. Our determination, reinforced by the hopes of a free and independent people.”

The President noted that Seychelles has made much progress since its independence with the creation and affirmation of the identity of its people as one nation, as well as progress in education, health, housing, welfare of the elderly, the creation of opportunities for young Seychellois, the development of businesses, the empowerment of Seychellois, the strengthening of social justice and dignity of the people, the growth of Gross Domestic Product, and a considerable improvement in the standard of living.

He said that this was achieved the Seychellois people’s sweat, determination and resilience in order to create a prosperous Seychelles with a high level of income, and a high development index, with a solid and performing economy, with foreign exchange reserves in excess of half a billion US dollars.

“39 years since our Independence … The event we are commemorating today is a powerful symbol of our national unity, which we need to adopt in our daily lives, and in our actions. A symbol to erase divisions so that we are all able to stand together, proudly, to swear to the new spirit of fraternity, of working together for our New Seychelles in peace, harmony and stability. It is the occasion for a new celebration, a solemn moment which will unify us forever. People of Seychelles, Today is Our Day! Let us seize this historic moment for us to make history!” said the President in his address.

President Michel said that time has come for Seychellois to all to look towards the future.

“Put our differences aside and strengthen our national unity. One country. One people. Let us continue our efforts to put right the wrongs of the past. But at the same time, let us appreciate the positive things that have happened and which have benefited our people as a whole. Let us recognize and appreciate all the benefits that we enjoy: the stability of our country, the peace that reigns within it, and our national unity. That's my message to all Seychellois today. A message of peace and unity. A message of love, compassion and solidarity. This is what will bring us toward greater prosperity.”

President Michel spoke about several initiatives that will be undertaken by the government.

District Councils

The President said that the Government would shortly be proposing a new Bill on District Administration to the National Assembly. It will provide for every District to have a District Council which is directly elected by the residents of the District. He said that this is yet another important step in the evolution and strengthening of Seychelles’ democracy by giving people the power to manage their communities, their districts, in ways that are democratic, free and efficient.

Small Business incentives

The President said that the Government will be introducing legislation to give even more support to the small and medium enterprises. With this new law, small businesses with a revenue of less than SR250,000 will only have to register with Small Enterprise Promotion Agency (SEnPA) without falling under the administrative procedures of the Seychelles Revenue Commission. The new law will also enable small and medium enterprises to have more access to credit and, in certain cases, benefit from the subsidy for small innovative business start-ups.

At the same time licensing procedures will be simplified further. Certain categories of small enterprises will be able to obtain their licenses within a period of one week. They will be able to start their operations whilst the necessary procedures are undertaken to ensure their conformity with applicable health and environmental regulations. The President said, “We are freeing the hands of small businesses!”

13th month salary

The President said the Government believes in rewarding hard work, productivity and innovation. In January 2016, all public sector employees who are not on fixed term contract will receive a 13th-month salary, based on their performance. The measure is not applicable to constitutional appointees. Some private companies are already offering this type of incentive to their employees, to reward them for good performance. The president said that the Government will continue to encourage others to do the same, mindful of the need to minimize its impact on small and medium enterprises.

Increase in Government pensions

The President announced that from December 2015, retirement pensions will increase by SR500 per month. This increase of SR500 per month will also apply to beneficiaries of Government pensions. He said that this demonstrates that his Government is firmly committed to continue improving the standard of living of its people who have devoted themselves to the service of our nation

Financial support for Seychellois who served on British vessels

Among the elderly generation are people who worked prior to Independence and to date have not benefited from a pension from the then British administration. They include the Seychellois sailors who served on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) tankers and other British vessels.

The President said that his government is undertaking to provide them with some financial support in the form of an ex-gratia payment as from 2016. This is in recognition of their contribution. He said that that the Government would continue to support them in their initiative to get assistance and compensation from the British government.

Day-care support

The President said that after taking into account the costs of day-care which maybe excessive for many mothers, the Government has decided to provide additional support to the day-care centers, which will help mothers who are more vulnerable. The measures will benefit all mothers – not only single mothers – provided they meet the relevant criteria.

Solar panels subsidy

The President said that as from next year the Government will subsidies the installation of solar panels for families that meet certain criteria, mainly the collective household income. It will also be compulsory for every new house and building to have its own solar panels installed. Here, too, a certain level of subvention may be applicable, depending on set criteria.

Abolishing tax on electric vehicles

The President announced that, with effect from 15th July 2015, duty on all electric vehicles will be abolished. At the same time, duty on hybrid vehicles will be reduced to 5%. He said this measure will help promote Seychelles’ policy of clean and renewable energy.

Blue Economy promotion

The President said that his government wants the Blue Economy to benefit even more small businesses and small enterprises. In order to encourage this, the Government is introducing a programme whereby the Government will offer loans – through the Development Bank and SBFA (the Small Business Finance Agency) – specifically for small and medium enterprises wishing to start activities linked to the Blue Economy. There will be a special consideration for Praslin and La Digue where the possibilities of starting new businesses are limited, and especially so in the case of La Digue.

Moratorium on large hotel projects

The President announced that his government has decided to impose, with immediate effect, a moratorium on large hotel projects on Mahé and the inner islands, with the exception of those projects for which approval has already been granted, or for which a commitment had been made by the Government. A carrying capacity study, to be conducted with local and foreign expertise, will assist government in taking the necessary and informed decisions on all tourism development projects in the future. He said that this strategy will create more space and opportunities for small hotels run by Seychellois.

Cap Ternay project

The President clarified speculation and allegations concerning the Cap Ternay project which he said continue to circulate. He reiterated there will be no construction of any hotel at Cap Ternay and added that this unique site will host a Blue Economy Institute, and facilities for the youth.

Compulsory education

The President announced that the Government has decided to extend the period of compulsory education from 10 years to 11 years, that is, up to Secondary 5. He said that this will better prepare our youth for post-secondary education, equip them better for the world of work, and help them become better citizens. The President thanked the members of the National Consultative Forum for their advice and recommendations on the issue.

Youth employment incentive

The President said that the Government is encouraging private companies to recruit more young people who have completed post-secondary institutions and are unemployed. As an incentive, he said that the Government is proposing a scheme where the Government pays 40% of the salaries of such young people who are employed by private companies for a period of one year, for salaries up to a maximum of SR7,000 a month. This scheme will start in 2016.


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