SCCI and fair trading body discuss business and consumer welfare issues


03-May-2013

The meeting between SCCI and FTC representatives

They met last week at the FTC’s conference room at Unity House where they discussed main concerns raised by local businesses and on what can be done to solve these issues.
SCCI’s chairman Marco Francis said an education programme will be put in place to inform the chamber’s members on the policies and guidelines which they need to adhere to.

One of the concerns addressed at the meeting was businesses which are being subsidised by the government especially in the retail sector.
“We have a free market but we do have a retail market being subsidised by the Seychelles Trading Company,” he said.

We need to review this role as we now have importers selling goods and competing with those getting subsidies, hence an unfair competition, he added.
Mr Francis said another concern is about companies which are listed on the new stock exchange getting concession such as tax which may seem unfair as there are others which are not getting any.
“It is unfair as companies on the local market are competing for the same consumer but one is getting a privilege while the other is not,” he added.

“Our members want a fair playing field, meaning a policy which applies to all not just a particular sector. We are working with the FTC to see how we can collaborate to advise the government to ensure that policies do not discriminate a certain class of businesses while setting privileges for the others.”

Mr Francis said there are also foreign companies which are competing on the local market but are being subsidised by their government or other institutions in their countries.
“This affects our local businesses which are not being subsidised,” he said.

Businesses operating without a licence and are not paying taxes was another concern brought forward during the meeting.

Acting chief executive of the FTC, Georges Tirant, said one of the main focus of the meeting was how to work together to ensure consumer welfare and fair competition within the business sector.
Mr Tirant said provision is made in the law to ensure that prices are displayed on all products and services offered by businesses.

“We will work closely with the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association to ensure that prices of all products and services are displayed and that all prices are shown in the national currency,” he said.

Mr Francis said SCCI will support FTC strongly in the campaign of ensuring prices displayed in Seychelles Rupees as we should be proud of our national currency thus giving it value.
The FTC will carry out an intensive education programme, conduct on-site visits to assess the situation and then actions will be taken with those who are not complying with the law.

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