St.Ange: Seychelles on the way to recession?
Outspoken former Seychelles Minister of Tourism Alain St. Ange is now leading Saint Ange Consultancy and is concerned about his country slipping into a recession.
Of course, St.Ange is a member of the current opposition party in Seychelles, but many see him as the most successful minister of tourism the Indian Ocean Region had.
In his 8th edition of his Saint Ange Consultancy newsletter he starts his blog with a quote from Winston Churchill.
“You cannot reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks.”
Whether the masses realize it yet or not, Seychelles is facing challenging economic times. The latest commentary from key individuals about the state of our country’s economy is that we are, “on the road to a recession”.
In a recent edition of the ‘Today’ Newspaper of Seychelles, the respected financial personality, Malika Jivan, took the trouble to address the situation on hand. She was quoted stating, “…our economy has been contracting. A slowdown in various sectors, no FDI, has had a domino effect on the economy. In text book terms, we are in a recession. Consumers cut spending, business cut payroll to cope with falling earnings.”
No Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the country is a serious problem. Construction companies have confirmed the lack of big projects at the moment in Seychelles. At the same time, our cost of living has not been adjusted to improve the lives of those in the lower wage bracket. On the contrary, the cost of living is increasing.
This year our Nation’s budget was approved by the National Assembly, after a series of drawn-out and exhaustive debates. For the first time in Seychelles’ political history, the majority of seats in the Assembly is held by members of the Opposition. The budget for 2017, therefore, has had the blessing of our elected representatives. We are now midyear and patiently waiting to see results.
Malika Jivan proposes a series of measures, including a commitment to business, to stimulate FDIs, and for Government to be a facilitator of business. She notes that FOREX earning businesses and exports should be encouraged. One such FOREX earning business in Seychelles is undoubtedly tourism. Are we ensuring they have their needed staffing contingent? Are we running to ensure the marketing of the islands is receiving all the budgetary assistance required? The goose that lays the golden egg needs to be nurtured with care and attention. Negative political agendas must be left out of tourism if we want this vital industry to succeed.
Last week we saluted the youth of Seychelles for being committed to saving Seychelles from itself. The positive feedback we have since obtained from the youth has been overwhelming. You are a force to be reckoned with and must continue to make your voices heard. We also need to acknowledge the efforts of those who have launched campaigns to collect accumulated rubbish from Grand Police and the beaches. You are not just talking, which is easy to do, but you are actively striving to protect and preserve our environment, and to keep our beaches as pristine as the holiday brochures say they are.
The tourism trade fair season is just around the corner once again, and as visitor arrival figures show, Italy and France need special attention. The tourism industry’s survival in Seychelles largely depends on air connectivity, but it also depends on our efforts in tapping into key markets. We may find ourselves witnessing sporadic cancellations of flights or discontinuation of air services if our target markets start fading away. The French Tourism Trade Fair will need a special push with private sector participation now that French elections are over and done with. The ball is very much in our court.