Leaders from the private and public sectors of Seychelles had the opportunity to discuss the business landscape in the country at the "First National Business Summit" held on Tuesday.
The forum was organised jointly by the Department of Investment in the Ministry of Finance, the Seychelles Investment Board and Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Its aim was to get leaders together for a frank and detailed examination of the business landscape in Seychelles.
In his state of the nation address, President Danny Faure said that the forum will help with the better planning of the country's economy and social development.
The Minister for Finance, Investment, Trade and Economic Planning, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, said that the forum will "allow the private and public sector to debate on important issues influencing and affecting the ability with which one can do business in the country and to agree on measures to improve the state of affairs."
"It is critical that all parties debate the issues so that we may together frame a more conducive and inclusive environment where we may prosper either as an entrepreneur or as proud employees of one of these businesses," said Loustau-Lalanne.
On the agenda of the summit were three thematic plenary sessions: Foundations for a Robust Economy, Strategies for Business-Led Economic Growth, and Creating an Enabling Environment.
At the end of each session, panellists answered questions coming from the floor.
Issues such as Seychelles' business environment, business entrepreneurship and development, as wells as investment opportunities in Seychelles were discussed.
The Director at Falcon Insurance, Arnold Chetty, said that the taking place of the summit is a good sign that the executive wants to listen to the longstanding pleas of the business community.
"This is a situation which has not existed over the last few decades. The business community sincerely hopes that this is a turning point in our business and economic history and that Seychelles will enter a phase of economic prosperity characterised by the recognition that business is indeed the driver of growth and creation of wealth," said Chetty.
He stressed that "the government should seriously look at a tax reform without much delay as there is a need to have a tax system that is streamlined, consistent, stable, simple, modern and well administered and which would foster an enabling environment for revenue growth."
Chetty said that any tax which affects operating costs of businesses and recurs monthly are passed in the form of higher prices for goods and services.
"The consequences of this, unfortunately, is inflation and comes back to haunt the government in the form of higher wage demands," said Chetty.
Commenting on the level of participation at the first business summit, the chief executive at the investment board, Cindy Vidot, said that there is a great level of engagement coming from the private sector, something they have shown through the number of concerns raised and questions.
"Points and engagements made will be compiled into a report. We will need to bring this report before the cabinet of ministers before August 1 and actions will be taken in regards to discussions held today," said Vidot.
She added that "whether it is a summit of this size or a continuation of deliberation on points that came out today, it is important that the conversation continues."