National Economic Council meets-President urges fair sharing of benefits


13-January-2012

President Michel addressing members of the National Economic Council at their first meeting yesterday

Mr Michel said this yesterday when he chaired the first session of the National Economic Council, which he set up last month.

“This is a goal that we must never lose sight of. Our economic cake must not only be bigger, but we must also ensure it is shared fairly,” he said.

He said at the same time we need to stimulate more business activity and get more Seychellois involved in entrepreneurship, which can be done by making more credit available to them and on easier terms, giving the banks a crucial role to play.

“I will say so again: the banks have to be proactive and reach out to all entrepreneurs, big and small.”

Mr Michel also said we must continue to encourage foreign direct investment in our country.
“It is crucial to stimulating growth in all sectors. As crucial FDI is to our survival in a fiercely competitive and globalised world, we must not neglect investment in our country by Seychellois for Seychellois.

“We must do everything possible to encourage and promote investment and re-investment by Seychellois entrepreneurs. This includes creating the enabling environment, putting the right policies in place, empowering our entrepreneurs, removing all obstacles and hurdles in their way …” he said.

He said our economic development must always take account of Seychelles’ specificities, adding models of large economies as well as precepts and theories taken from textbooks are not always directly transferable to small island states like ours.

“We need an economy that reflects our democratic principles of social justice, and not one based on technical considerations alone. We need an economy that empowers and benefits our people and puts their interests first. My Government will continue to improve the policy framework that will enable all economic actors to feed the engines of productivity and economic growth.

“That is the raison d’être of this National Economic Council. We need to work together, across our organisations, in smarter and more innovative ways that serve the national interest. We need to find innovative solutions to problems we are confronted with. Our national economic direction must be based on our shared experience and on a sound understanding of the underlying principles of fairness and social justice. Seychelles is too small for myriads of little empires, where getting simple things done finally takes just too long and costs too much. We must always put Seychelles first! We must keep on striving for Seychelles! He said, inviting the members to give their ideas, suggestions and concerns, including those of the sectors they represent, as well as the proposals they have on the way forward.

“It also buttresses this year’s theme of Striving For Our Seychelles as it will provide us with an important sense of direction in the work we do for our country.”

Noting the world economy itself is undergoing major upheavals, especially in countries which have been our traditional tourism markets, he said Seychelles can and should expect turbulent times ahead.

“Consequently, in this context and as we approach the end of this first phase of formal collaboration with international financial institutions, I think it is not only appropriate but imperative for our government to engage with local economic experts and representatives of our major economic institutions and stakeholders in the private sector in defining the way forward.”

He stressed while he is concerned with developing sound economic policy, he is equally concerned about the impact of economic policy on employment and on social protection, especially the adverse consequences it can have on the more vulnerable sections of our society.

“It has been shown that unbridled neoliberal approaches to economic development tend to widen the gap in incomes, and generally work to the benefit of those who already wield economic power,” he said, before calling for a path of economic growth that fairly benefits all Seychellois.

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