President returns from working visit to UAE | 23 February 2021
No payment to Etihad Airways this year
No payment will be effected this year to Etihad Airways and further negotiations are ongoing in regards to the mode of payment for the debt accumulated by Air Seychelles and for the return of the Etihad shares in order to reinstate the country’s national carrier as a fully Seychellois owned entity.
This is one of the outcomes of President Wavel Ramkalawan’s working visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 19-22.
Accompanied by Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde, President Ramkalawan returned to the country yesterday morning.
Key outcomes of the President’s working visit are as follows:
In relation to the Air Seychelles and Etihad partnership agreement, no payment will be effected this year and further negotiations are ongoing in regards to the mode of payment for the debt accumulated and for the return of the Etihad shares in order to reinstate the country’s national carrier as a fully Seychellois owned entity.
The UAE government has confirmed the provision of specialist infrastructure support to Seychelles through a team of technicians to review two major upcoming projects. The first project is the La Digue Hospital project currently in the planning stages and the second is the Drug Rehabilitation Centre currently being proposed for relocation at the Ex-Mont Royale site.
Seychelles will also benefit from trained anti-narcotics sniffer dogs as part of the country’s efforts to further combat drug trafficking. The assistance will include the necessary specialist training required for Seychellois law enforcement personnel.
The President has also sought budget support from the UAE government either as a grant or a soft loan. A reply will soon be communicated.
Other aspects of discussions for the future cooperation also included social development such as the future construction of homes for the elderly and assisting the Seychelles Hospital laboratory to improve its testing facilities.
Prior to his departure for the UAE, the President met with the vice-chancellor of the University of Seychelles (UniSey), Joëlle Perreau, to discuss the way forward for the Institution. It is in that regard that President Ramkalawan discussed the issue with former President James Michel in his capacity as the current chancellor of UniSey. Mr Michel has agreed to relinquish his position as chancellor of the university and expressed his full support for government’s intention to make UniSey a state-owned university.
During his visit, the head of State also met with various private investors and businesses interested in business opportunities for the best interest of the country. Through a private donor, the President has managed to secure another 25,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine. This places Seychelles on target to vaccinate over 70,000 of its population in order attain herd immunity and be able to resume active-tourism by mid-March 2021.
Press release from State House