State-of-the-nation address 2012-Small businesses need more help


“If we are to realise the vision for the flourishing of small Seychellois enterprises we must pay attention to our small entrepreneurs in a more visionary and realistic way,” President Michel said in his state-of-the-nation address he delivered before the National Assembly last week.

President Michel noted that in Seychelles today, the big Seychellois businesses – even if there are not many of them – are doing well and are making a contribution to the country’s economy.

“But we also have the small businesses that are trying, striving to also grow and achieve as much success. But it is not easy for them. Limited access to credit, limited access to facilities such as land, training and development of appropriate skills, an obstructive bureaucracy, these are all obstacles preventing them from growing and reaching important positions in the economy of our country … We need to do things differently,” President Michel said.

“We have to accelerate our effort to eliminate bureaucracy which adversely impacts on the development of small businesses.

Where necessary, policies should be reviewed ….  More importantly access by entrepreneurs to affordable financing should remain a priority.  It is important that we find solutions to untie the hands of small businessmen,” he added.

At this point, the President noted that it would help the situation if commercial banks would accord priority to loans for businesses.
“I will not stop asking the banks to do more. When will our bankers understand that without financing there will be no sustainable development? When will they understand that interests that are too high are detrimental to business …? The present situation stifles economic growth. This cannot continue in the New Seychelles. The Ministry of Finance will have to take measures to promote competition. In the same vein, government will encourage wider investment in economic sectors where monopolies and cartels still exist,” the President said.

President Michel said if we are to attract more investments, Seychelles must address those issues that hold back businesses and investment. These include the time it takes to establish a business; the time it takes to obtain permission to build, the time it takes to register a property or a business; the time it takes to get electricity and water connections, and access to finance and credit, and the time it takes for cases to be resolved under the legal and judiciary system.

“All of these constraints are tarnishing our image and putting the brakes on our development.  But we have the power to eliminate them. It requires concerted action. More importantly, there is the need for a profound change, and an acceptance of change.

It demands that we work hard for our Seychelles,” said the President.
Meanwhile, members of the National Assembly will reconvene today to start debate on President Michel’s state-of-the-nation address.

The first to give their reactions will be the leader of the opposition David Pierre and leader of government business Marie-Louise Potter.

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