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Archive -Seychelles

Cabinet approves legal and policy memoranda |08 June 2018

A number of legal and policy memoranda were considered by the cabinet of ministers during a scheduled meeting chaired by Vice-President Vincent Meriton on Wednesday.

During its deliberations, cabinet approved for a zero duty on all none-dairy milk alternatives, a policy for the training requirements of seafarers, an action plan from recommendations of the 19th Session of the UN committee on the rights of person with disabilities and the 77th session of the UN Committee on the rights of the child, parameters for the management and administration of the Children’s Special Fund and also approved policy on banning the importation of single use plastic straws in the country.

Present at the press debriefing at State House Annex yesterday to further elaborate on the legal policy and memoranda were Margaret Pillay, deputy cabinet secretary for policy affairs in the president’s office, Linda William Melanie, principal secretary for social affairs in the Ministry for Family Affairs and Nanette Laure, director general for waste enforcement and permits in the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate change.

Speaking on the removal of customs duty on all non-dairy milk alternatives, milk products produced from plants such as soya milk, almond milk, rice milk etc..  which are common nowadays in the country, Mrs Pillay said the cabinet approved for the removal of duty on such products for the health of the nation as such products are being promoted by the Ministry of Health due to their nutritional value.

“So, cabinet of ministers decided to remove all duty on these plant-based milk products to support people who are using them and to encourage others to follow suit for their health benefit,” she said.

Such plant-based products were previously subjected to 25% duty as they were classified under diary milk products which will now be split as the customs will amend their regulation to cater for non-dairy products.

On the policy for the training requirements of seafarers, Mrs Pillay said its aim is to ensure that any person who owns, works on or operates a watercraft, shall be certified to do so and shall have the basic safety training. 

She added that this was due to the recent rise in sea accidents of different forms (including fatal) in the past years and the cabinet has seen it fit to make the sea safe for all users. The policy will take effect as from January 2019.

“All persons involved in handling and working on boats which also include jet ski users will have to be certified for their competence by the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA), who is mandated for safety at sea and who also oversees that sea regulations are respected,” she said, noting that training requirement is an international recommendation by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) which SMSA is obliged to. Competency based training in safety at sea will be conducted by SMSA and the Seychelles Maritime Academy.

Commenting on the cabinet’s approval of action plans on the rights of persons with disabilities, to be implemented by Seychelles following the UN’s recommendations, PS William Melanie said that this will require all stakeholders to put in place mechanisms and to provide services and programmes in education, health, transportation, elimination social barriers based on perceptions and getting sign language as a national language among others, destined for and involving persons with disabilities, so as to be compliant with the UN Committee.

She noted that a local committee will be put in place to oversee the progression of the action plan whose achievements have to be reported back to the UN in five years’ time.

On the rights of the child, PS William Melanie said the UN Committee is requesting for continued improvement and revision in the laws such as the children act where there are certain gaps that need to be revised so as to be compliant with the international child’s rights.

PS William Melanie also noted that the compliance also includes some recommendations in education, where more girls are to be channeled to science subjects, adolescent reproductive health and some child protection programmes which will also involve parents.

Elaborating on the cabinet’s approval of the parameters for the management and administration of the Children’s Special Fund, PS William Melanie said a new board with five members has been set up since February this year to manage the fund aimed at helping the children in their education, individually, cultural activities and others aimed at their wellbeing. The new framework and guidelines approved by cabinet are to ensure good governance, transparency and accountability.

PS Melanie said the fund holds R7 million and all allocated funds personally or to the different projects will be monitored.

“There are different criteria and categories of funding in the policy framework so as to be sure that money is well spent for the benefit of the children,” PS William Melanie said. 

On the cabinet’s approved policy on importation of single use straws in line with the strategy to reduce the use of plastics in the country which came into effect last year, Mrs Laure said that the ban will take effect in January 2019.

She added that all concerned have until the end of the year to finish the stock in their possession.

Mrs Laure advised on the use of other alternative straws such as bamboo or paper straws. For the time being, the restriction is not applicable on straws that come attached to juice packets.




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