Getting to know our ministers | 14 November 2020
‘I grew up in a business world with this mentality of working hard’ – Minister Devika Vidot
Seychelles has a new cabinet made up of 13 new ministers appointed. While some of them are familiar faces, a few others were not in the limelight. In an effort to better acquaint ourselves with the new cabinet, Seychelles NATION will be sharing with its readers the profile of each minister on a regular basis.
The first minister we are portraying is Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry, Devika Sumitra Kathrina Vidot. She is the youngest one in the cabinet and she is also expecting her second child. Let us dive into her world.
Seychelles NATION: Who is Minister Devika Vidot?
Minister Vidot: I was born in November 1988 and next week I will turn 32. My expertise is mainly in accounting, entrepreneurial and financial services. I graduated with a Bachelors degree in accounting and finance from the University of Manchester and a master's degree in professional accountancy. I am also a proud member of ACCA and next year I aspire to become a fellow of ACCA.
Seychelles NATION: Tell our readers about your journey from childhood to your young adult years.
Minister Vidot: I was born in Takamaka and lived there until I was 12 years old. After that I moved to Baie Lazare with my mum. I have three other siblings and I was always a quiet and obedient girl ever since I was a child. I always loved to interact with people, talk and laugh with them. At a very young age, my parents made sure that even when I was at school, I had to do some work. Everyday when I came back from school, I had this extra work to do either at home or in the retail business. I grew up in a business world and grew up with this mentality of working hard and this made me dive in the business world at a very young age. It also helped me acquire an extensive background in business. That’s why, after school, I was automatically attracted to accountancy and finance. After my A Levels, I was awarded a government scholarship. I started teaching at Anse Royale while waiting for my university course. Then I followed the Manchester-UniSey twinning programme. When I came back, I immediately started working with the Seychelles International Business Authority (now FSA) and started my ACCA on a part-time basis. After work and on week-ends, I dedicated my time to study. All my holidays were kept for my exams. After that, I took a small break then pursued with my Master’s degree.
Seychelles NATION: Please tell us more about your professional life.
Minister Vidot: Both my parents have their own businesses. My dad has a retail business whereas my mum has a self-catering. At a very young age, I assisted them in all aspects of the business – operation, book-keeping, filing of returns, applying for licenses, meetings with authorities and even managing businesses. I have been actively involved since I was 12 years old and as I grew my responsibilities increased. After my studies, I was employed in the Financial Services Industry as a director. This sector is vibrant and dynamic but at this moment, it is being affected by uncertainties from international pressure such as Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and Financial Action Task Force. They have regulations that they want Seychelles to adhere to and to comply with. Seychelles had to work on its legislations and this has not been easy. We had to maintain our clients, maintain our companies and at the same time adhere to the principles. As a member of the ACCA, I am bound to do continuous professional development courses and also other small courses in order to maintain my accreditation.
Seychelles NATION: Tell us about your family life and about the baby on the way
Minister Vidot: After ten years of courtship, I married the love of my life in September 2018. We are parents of a 17-month-old boy and preparing to welcome our second one. I know it will not be easy because as soon as I leave the office of the minister, I have an urge to go back home to see my son. This makes me focus on my day at work thoroughly and when I am home, I dedicate my time to him. I make sure I have proper rest also. Usually I start my day very early in the morning, and with a second baby, at the beginning I know it will be hectic. But I have the full support of my husband and family. Children grow so fast and within two or three months after the second birth, I am sure I will be able to readapt with normal life. In my previous office, I had a small bassinet in order to care for my son whenever I had to bring him in. The way we are bringing him up also helps him to entertain himself on his own. I was quite flexible with my first one and hoping to be the same with my second born.
Since my appointment life has changed a bit as I have to wake up earlier to be able to keep doing exercise and attend to the needs of the family.
Seychelles NATION: And now, having been appointed as minister, what will be your main duty and how accessible will you be to the public?
Minister Vidot: I never imagined that one day I will be appointed minister. The way things turned out made me accept the proposal. I have been seeing the development of this sector and its struggles. By accepting this position, I can actually make a difference. I am excited and I have the inspiration to do much for this sector. The ease of doing business in Seychelles is not that easy as there is no harmonisation among the agencies. On the level of ministries, it also calls for a united vision and I know that all my colleagues have the same vision where we will work as a team instead of separate ministries. So far, while waiting for my office to be ready, I took the time to visit all the different departments falling under my ministry. My main objective is to meet with all my staff members and make them feel at ease to come forward and secondly I wanted to understand the functions of these agencies. As a whole we want to facilitate the ease of doing business in Seychelles.
As a woman also, I believe in the potentials and capabilities of women. As a mother we come with a determination and sense of responsibility. If we use the same attitude in our business, we are on our way to success. As soon as my office is ready in Oliaji Trade Centre, I will be meeting with the public on Thursday mornings. Members of the public are advised to call my office for an appointment. As a minister or a civil servant we are here to serve the public. I would also call on the cooperation of the public to please respect their appointment time.