Finance minister tours Siba offices-“Offshore financial services could be first economic pillar,” says chief executive


Minister Laporte and his delegation listening to a presentation during his tour

Mr Laporte was accompanied by the ministry’s head of policy and strategic department, Rupert Simon. They were welcomed by Siba’s new chief executive, Wendy Pierre, who at the end of the tour expressed confidence that the offshore financial services, which took off in 1995, has the potential to ultimately become Seychelles’ first economic pillar.

For Mr Laporte, the tour was an occasion to familiarise himself with the operations of Siba and its 78 staff working in different departments, notably compliance, corporate, finance, business development and human resources.

Mr Laporte said at the end of the familiarisation visit that he was quite aware of the accomplishments of Siba and appreciates the dynamism of the staff. 

He said he was very pleased to learn about the compliance aspect of Siba operations, because without adequate safeguards the promotional efforts of the organisation would not come to much.

“It is a make or break situation,” he said.

Mr Laporte also said he was dissatisfied by Seychelles’ business performance at international level.

“It should be steadily going upward, not stagnating in the 120th position,” Mr Laporte said, adding that Siba and the private sector should take advantage of the synergies being created.

He said that while until now he had been primarily concerned about the implementation of Seychelles’ macro-economic reforms, he is also aware that both Siba and the Seychelles Bureau of Investment (SIB), which he visited on Wednesday, have been performing well.

Ms Pierre said Seychelles’ financial services rest on a solid structure, benefitting from a coordinated relationship with the Central Bank, which has a supervisory role over its activities, as well as the Attorney General’s Office, which is responsible for enacting the proper legislation.

The ministerial delegation had previously watched a video presentation by heads of Siba’s various departments.

They were told that Seychelles has since 1995 emerged as an attractive offshore entity, mainly because of modern legislation, good communications network, a bilingual population and reasonable government fees.

These include international business companies (IBCs), whose registration has increased steadily over the past 15 years, with a small slow-down in 2009 at on the onset of the world economic recession.  IBC registration and renewal alone earned the country $4 million last year.

Other activities include trustees, foundations and other corporate services.

It was stressed that besides the earnings in terms of foreign currency, there is also the employment provided by the offshore sector, rentals of office space and transfer of skills to Seychellois.

Siba is also preoccupied with encouraging more value added financial services, such as offshore banking. Already, two offshore banks have begun operations in Victoria -- Barclays and BMI Banking.

Mr Laporte and his delegation also toured part of the Seychelles International Trade Zone (SITZ) where products are processed or packed solely for the export market.

There are 41 business ventures in the SITZ, the main one being the Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT) cannery.

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