Forum delegates welcome early economic recovery


20-May-2009

                
Mr Borg (left) and Minister Faure speaking during the opening session of the forum

The European Union’s commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, Joe Borg, said:
“The reform programme has made a good start, reflecting the authorities’ strong commitment and ownership of the reforms.

“This is why the EU is happy to move to a new cooperation approach which indeed is a clear signal of our trust in the country’s economy in drawing up our cooperation strategy.”

Talking to Nation, a number of the delegates referred to news released by the international media just before their arrival here, citing authoritative news agencies saying Seychelles’ economy is recovering better than expected due to falling inflation, healthier foreign exchange reserves and a stronger currency.

Central Bank governor Pierre Laporte confirmed this, saying the economic fundamentals have stabilised.
 “Things are very, very satisfactory, far more so than expected,” he said.

He also confirmed that inflation, year on year, fell to 47.9% in April compared with 63.6% in December, and net foreign reserves were US $75 million – “enough for five weeks’ worth of imports, compared with September when we had three days’ cover”.

The rupee has gained about 21% since December, when it traded at R17 against the US dollar.
The Central Bank yesterday said the rupee was trading at a consolidated average of 14.1564 against the dollar on Monday when the forum took place. This figure represents the average between the exchange bureaux and commercial banks.

Finance Minister Danny Faure said standing where we are now, it is remarkable to look back and reflect on how far we have come.

“Just in May last year, the Seychelles economy was choking. We had run out of foreign exchange. We were insolvent as a country. The world food and fuel crisis pushed us over the edge. Decisions had to be taken,” he said. 
 
“As finance minister, I am happy that the right decisions were made by our President. The right decisions to embark on a comprehensive reform programme to transform Seychelles into a modern market-based economy, loosening controls, preserving social gains, and putting our faith in the market to determine the exchange rate and interest rates along with the prices of all goods and services.”

He told the delegates this course presented us with enormous uncertainties requiring us to look past the inevitable short-term economic, social and political costs to the longer-term benefits for the people of Seychelles.

“Six months after embarking on a two-year IMF-supported Stand-By Arrangement, we have transformed our macro-economic frameworks and are already seeing the early signs of stabilisation,” he said.

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