The Civil Engagement Platform of Seychelles (CEPS) has given its views and position upon the budget address that was presented to the Seychelles nation on Tuesday 31 October 2017 before the National Assembly.
The following are some of the points that was were raised:-
The civil society acknowledges the fact that the 2018 budget is aimed at reducing the cost of living in the country but in its effort to do so, the civil society has identified issues that could have been given more thought of as are being raised below.
1. The approach taken for development of the budget through consultation was good .It is noted that this year the civil society was not invited to take part in the discussions related to the budget preparations as in the previous year. By the time it was realized, it was already too late. We therefore record our disappointment on this matter.
2. Income Tax- It is felt that the way this is being done is not at all fair. Proposes that it should be done in a more progressive manner and that tax be deducted on all in such a way with the purpose of benefiting all groups. (Explain what you mean by
unfairness) . EQUITY FOR ALL. Even if it is a 2% the progression terms too large a gap and there middle class is feeling the bulk of the unfairness. We do recognize that the progressive income tax system will allow workers to have extra money in their hands but on the other they will have extra expense such as bus fares.
3. The increase in bus fare is a reasonable one and well overdue. However, there is a need to have more improvement in the bus services. There is an inconsistency in bus service on Praslin / the issue of lack of buses remains unacceptable.
4. Tax on sugary items/food as pronounced by the Minster in this year’s budget (2017) has not been mentioned at all in the 2018 budget. This was supposed to be linked to obesity issues in view of the increased concern that is related to the health of
5. The issue of poverty was not given prominence in this year’s budget. It should have its own budget allocation just like the other agencies but not covered under a ministry or State House vote.
6. Truck Association: More information as to how the business community will benefit from in fractured project like the La Gogue Dam. There are local specialized equipment and talent that can be tapped into. More transparency in regards to the
contract. The hike in CC and fuel cost prices, which then the businesses have to pass on to the consumer, which is then a direct implication to the cost of living. There has been a negation for seven years and nothing has done until now.
7. CAR HIRE SCHEME: In the budget the minister said “14.1.4 Seychelles Car Hire Operators Association Currently, the Car Hire Operators must renew their licenses every year compared to 5 years like most businesses. I am pleased to announce that
Government has decided that the license of Car Hire Operators is renewed every five (5) years from 1st January 2018. The licensing regulations will be amended as a pre-condition that an operator must be a registered member of the Association to be eligible for a 5-year license. that you need to be a member of the car hire association for you to benefit from the scheme allocated to the budget. We feel that its not constitutional to force someone to be part of the association e.g Car Hire Association.
One cannot force someone to associate.
Right/ freedom to associate article 23:
Right of assembly and association 23. (1) Every person has a right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and for the purpose of this article this right includes the right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or to belong to political parties, trade unions or other associations for the protection of the interests of that person and not to be compelled to belong to
8. The nurses association had discussed the possibility of that three thousand rupees allowance be placed on the basic salary and not as allowance. This will facilitate seeking of loans from the commercial banks.