“We are a blessed nation, the descendants of people from different continents. We are a proud nation whose social, racial, and religious cohesion is the solid foundation that guarantees our peace and stability. We are a people who are the keepers of a country that is small in land area but of immense natural beauty. We are a people whom the world describes as warm and welcoming.”
The President of Seychelles made the declaration on the occasion of the 17th National Day celebrations at State Linite (stadium), in the presence of the guest of honor, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Mr. Kamalesh Sharma and Mrs. Sharma.
President Michel said that Seychelles is a small country that has not been spared the effects of calamities or world crises but that the key to the country’s success is the harmony enjoyed by its people.
“Our social, racial, and religious cohesion has always been the assurance of our prosperity and progress. It is our unity in diversity that in the most difficult times enabled us to remain strong and full of hope,” said President Michel.
The President said that a new generation of Seychellois is paving its way forward to take the country onto its next level of development, by building on the achievements of the generation that fought for independence and liberation.
President Michel continued: “We need to always have a new way of doing things, with an approach that is innovative and sincere. Our country has known much success. But we cannot simply remain where we are, say that we have done enough, and that we don’t need anybody anymore. The world changes, people change, and we, too, have to remain abreast with the realities of the world.
“Our National Day reminds us of the most important values we need to have – unity and harmony – in order to enjoy the higher quality of life… Our country is undergoing a transformation. We are seeing a Seychelles that is more open and a society that is more diverse. We are seeing a lot of consultations and debate at all levels. We will continue to create the conditions that will enable our young democracy to develop further.”
This year, the traditional National Day Parade of the officers of the Seychelles People’s Defense Forces and Police included the participations of the representatives of armed forces of India, France, and the United Kingdom.
THE GUARANTEE OF A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE SEYCHELLOIS PEOPLE
During his National Day speech, President James Michel announced major measures to improve the quality of life of the Seychellois people including a reduction in public bus fares, government bank interest rates, new IT facilties for schools, and the projects to upgrade the hospitals and clincs of the country.
The President announced that the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) would be reducing its bus fare from R7 to R5 on July 1. He said that this reduction “reflects the intense work we have been doing for over a year to have a pricing structure that renders this fare reduction possible.”
“We have the reduction thanks to donations from friendly countries and also as a result of big improvements in the efficiency of SPTC operations. We will continue to work for more improvement in the bus service. We must remain conscious of the fact that the bus fare is inevitably determined by the price of fuel on the international market. We always pray that the world does not suffer from the kinds of fuel crises that it experienced in 2008,” President Michel stated.
President Michel also said that he has been preoccuped with the reticence of the commercial banks to bring down their rates of interest on credit.
The President said that the government has opted to play the role of facilitator to redynamize its economy and to accelerate growth.
“I cannot wait anymore, and I am taking actions to inject oxygen into our economy. Financial institutions in which government is the majority shareholder are reducing interests on loans at all levels. DBS (Development Bank of Seychelles) will reduce its rate of interest from 10 percent to 8.5 percent as from September 1. This will be made possible because of two new bonds to be issued by DBS. These offer innovative options for investors. There are many advantages. These bonds are guaranteed by government,” President Michel added.
The President also said that the Housing Finance Corporation (HFC) will lower its interest rate from 7 percent to 6 percvent. As is the case with DBS, government will also guarantee HFC loans.
The President said that he has also taken measures to ensure that interest rates at Savings Bank and Nouvobanq are lowered as well, where housing loans, for example, will come down to 7 percent on average. All other loans will be offered at interest rates not exceeding 10 percent.
“I am very confident that this initiative will help individuals, as well as businesses, big and small, to have access to credit facilities that offer more favorable terms. And this is what will enable our economy to continue growing,” said President Michel.
The President said that the educator sector would be further improved with the implementation of a program to invest in informational techology resources. This would be made possible through an active partnership with the assistance of a friendly country.
President Michel said that the government will be putting in place a special project, estimated to cost SR30 million this year, to upgrade the hospitals and health services in general.
“The investment will complement the gradual reform in the health sector and is part of our overall vision to ensure that the Seychellois people enjoy a higher quality of life from the level of services they receive. In this context, I repeat again that our most important resource is our human resource. We continue to give our full support to the health employees who are on duty at day and night, working for the well-being of their compatriots.”