A newly approved investment policy for Seychelles should help to create an environment that is predictable and stable for all investors in the private sector, said a senior government officer.
Recognising the importance of investment in the economy of Seychelles by private investors, the government deemed it important to establish a framework that will allow everyone to be compatible and work in the same direction within the public sector.
"After carrying out an analysis we understood that we need to start with a policy of investment that will guide the people in the public service on how we should treat the different aspects of doing business in the country. This is to ease constraints that the private sector is facing," Michael Nalletamby, the Principal Secretary at the Department of Investment told SNA on Monday.
This comes after the Cabinet of Ministers in its meeting last week, approved the Seychelles National Investment policy, aimed at establishing guidelines on policy related to investment.
The Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Policy Affairs, Margaret Pillay, said during a press briefing last Thursday that "the policy basically states how we want something to occur in the country."
The policy is driven by four main principles. Other than having a conducive and transparent environment to attract investment, it looks to modernise the legal framework for investment. Additionally, it promotes international best practices and standards for investment and encourages investors to have respect for the environment and socio-cultural cohesion of the country.
"As of late, we have been hearing a lot about investment and ease of doing business. If we want our economy to grow, it is important to have a good environment where people with the means and the facility is able to invest," said Pillay.
The policy, containing 13 statements, is a result of months of consultation between the private and public sector.
"We carried out consultations on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, in a series of between 13 and 14 meetings with different focus groups. We wanted to find a common ground for everyone and received quite a good turnout," said Nalletamby.
Talking about problems in areas of investment, Nalletamby said that there is a lack of business diversification in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
"This is a topic that we need to start talking about. We should take into consideration that we are joining many international bodies such as Continental Free Trade Area and World Trade Organisation (WTO)," said the principal secretary.
He added that though the resources of Seychelles are limited, it should not stop the country from exporting more.
"Having joined the free trade area, it gives us the opportunity to trade with continental African countries and tap into the sources of raw materials that can be processed locally and later exported. We just need to analyse the market and our abilities," said the principal secretary. He added that this will help reduce the country's dependency on imports.
The investment policy also promotes sustainable growth and employment, the integration of science technology and innovation as well as the pursuit of high standards of Service delivery.
The policy was presented a day after Seychelles held its first national business summit. Pillay said that the approval comes at an appropriate time.
"Those who were participating in the summit felt comfortable that the government is listening to their concerns. All they are asking now is that we put into action all that has been agreed upon," said Pillay.
Concerns outlined during the summits will be compiled into a report which will be presented to the Cabinet before August 1.