In the National Assembly | 15 July 2020
R486 million disbursed as financial assistance for businesses
Assembly members yesterday received details of the different categories of businesses which have so far been supported financially and the amount of money that has been disbursed from the COVID-19 fund approved by the National Assembly earlier this year.
Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning Minister Maurice Loustau-Lalanne gave those details when answering a private notice question on the matter by the leader of the opposition Wavel Ramkalawan.
The latter noted that in view of the frustrations that reign among small businesses three months after government was to assist them, he wanted to know how much money had been disbursed for assistance per category of business, the number of small businesses which have not been assisted, those rejected on the basis that they have enough money in their accounts, if these cases are being reviewed, among other related questions.
With regard to the amount of money disbursed per category, Minister Loustau-Lalanne detailed that for the period April, May and June up to July 10, 2020, this was as follows:
- R215 million for large businesses,
- R39 million for medium-sized businesses,
- R82 million for small businesses, and
- R150 million for micro or very small businesses.
The minister detailed the categories of businesses as follows:
- Micro or very small businesses are those whose annual revenues are under R2 million,
- Small businesses have annual revenues of more than R2 million but less than R10 million,
- Medium-sizes business are those with annual revenues of more than R10 million but less than R25 million, and
- Large businesses are those with an annual revenue of more than R25 million.
He stressed that the classifications are important information required by the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) when those businesses submit their tax declarations.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne also informed Assembly members that the Agency for Social Protection (ASP) has for its part as from April until June disbursed a sum of R33.1 million to assist different individuals from the informal sector.
The number of individuals who have been supported has increased from 3,274 in April to 5,399 in June.
“This clearly shows that more people are feeling the impact of the reduction in income they are taking home at the end of the month,” said Minister Loustau-Lalanne.
The minister further pointed out that for micro or very small businesses there were altogether 636 whose requests for assistance which totalled R38 million were rejected. He explained that the main reason for rejection was that there was enough money on their accounts or they were at faults with the SRC as their tax payments were not in order and which they were advised to review and settle. The minister told Assembly members that all businesses which were affected by the FA4JR committee’s decisions had the opportunity to lodge an appeal and present new documents to the appeal’s committee for justification.
Meanwhile, the FA4JR committee has reviewed 267 applications from the 636 that were rejected and in 76 cases the decisions have been reversed.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne noted that in the first instance the COVID-19 fund was to help businesses for the first three months, but after several meetings and consultations with the private sector, a decision was taken last week to review all applications rejected based on the fact that the businesses had sufficient money in their accounts. Thus from the month of July all businesses operating in the tourism sector will automatically be approved for assistance for their Seychellois employees until December this year. For other categories of businesses which are not in the tourism sector but whose applications have been rejected, Minister Loustau-Lalanne said they will have to resubmit their applications based on the new criteria which will be in place as from August. Applications rejected because of tax issues with the SRC but which have since been settled, will also be reconsidered.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne also said for the month of June, the FA4JR committee received 230 applications and all those approved will receive their assistance until December 2020.
He also answered several other questions and clarifications from members relating to the issue.