Assembly Budget for More Entities considered(M-A.L) In the National Assembly Financial allocations for more entities considered, approved on last day of Assembly budget process |11 December 2021
The budget allocated to several more entities for next year were considered and approved during the National Assembly’s afternoon sitting yesterday, the last in a series of several sittings to address the 2022 appropriation process.
The National Assembly unfortunately could not sit in the morning as its premises were flooded following heavy rains the evening before. Members of staff spent the morning dealing with the unfortunate situation and normal sitting started at 1pm.
R18,517,000 for Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS)
May De Silva, commissioner of the ACCS, presented the budget allocation for Assembly members’ consideration.
She noted in her presentation that 2021 has been a historical year in the fight against corruption in Seychelles and for the ACCS.
“Our laws have been reinforced as an independent institution, we have made progress in investigations and prosecution of suspects engaged in corrupt practices, we are continuing with our education campaign in the fight against corruption, we have conducted 17 prevention sessions in four government institutions since October. The ACCS cannot fight corruption on its own. We all have to unite and take our responsibility to help in this fight,” Commissioner De Silva pointed out.
She has extended heartfelt gratitude to all international and local partners of the ACCS namely the European Union, the British, US and Australian governments and the Commonwealth.
Commissioner De Silva also informed Assembly members of the ACCS’ new function in relation to the declaration of assets for government officials which it has started following amendments to the law earlier this year.
Among questions raised by members in relation to this budget allocation was the number of local and foreign employees on part-time and full-time basis, if budget provides for salaries of foreign employees, if the ACCS has a training plan and if the budget is sufficient for the ACCS to deliver on its mandate for the coming year. The issue of her personal security was also raised.
Ms De Silva informed Assembly members that the ACCS currently has 33 Seychellois employees, five foreigners on temporary employment who are all paid from its budget while four others are being funded by the EU. With regard to training for local employees, Ms De Silva has launched an appeal for the government to support and fund training for local employees particularly in the more specialised field of financial crime investigation, an area which she said will not only benefit the ACCS but the police, the FIU, the FCIU and all other entities that support the ACCS in its work.
She noted that the EU specialists also mentor the Seychellois employees, something she said will continue. With regard to the ACCS budget allocation Ms De Silva said in her view the allocation should be seven times the amount.
“But I understand the government has financial constraints. But now that the ACCS has started to deliver on its mandate I am in a better position to request for more resources. So we have delivered, we are delivering and therefore we need more resources. The budget allocated will not be sufficient but this will be put to the government for review next year,” Ms De Silva pointed out.
With regard to her security, Ms De Silva said she made a request to the government and she was assigned a security officer.
“I did not choose and I don’t know where the officer is from as I did not do any background checks on him. I have also requested for security for other employees of the ACCS as well as employees of other law enforcement agencies as I am not the only one whose life is at risk,” Ms De Silva informed Assembly members.
After several other questions and clarifications the budget allocation for the ACCS was approved when Assembly members voted 27 votes for, none against and no abstention.
Truth Reconciliation and National Unity Commissioner (TRNUC) secures a budget allocation of R15,997,000
In the absence of a TRNUC Commissioner, the Secretary of State for Finance Patrick Payet presented the allocation for Assembly members’ consideration.
He noted that the TRNUC is expected to complete its mandate next year thus the absence of a budget forecast for 2023 and 2024 and its budget allocation for next year is R2.49 million more than the revised budget for the year 2021.
An increase of R1.2 million has been earmarked for wages and salaries and a further R1.3 million is going into goods and services.
Mr Payet went on to detail the other components and specifics of the allocation for TRNUC which was approved when members voted 19 for, zero vote against and seven abstentions.
Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) gets a budget allocation of R19,064,000
The allocation was presented for Assembly members’ consideration an approval by its director Richard Rampal who was accompanied by other key officials from the unit.
After detailing the accomplishments of the unit over the past two years and the challenges that remain, the budget allocation for the unit for 2022 was approved when members voted 27 for, zero against and zero abstention.
Other entities whose budgets were approved without any debate were as follows:
Tax and Customs Agent Board and Revenue Tribunal secured an allocation of R1,480,000.
A sum of R813,000 went to the Government Audit Committee.
Meanwhile the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, Minister Naadir Hassan, presented the budget allocation for three other entities namely;
Net Lending a sum amounting to R246.577 million, Development Grants to Public Enterprises R169,133,000 and Subvention to Public Enterprises a sum of R149,026,000.
Following a detailed presentation on how the money under the different heads would be used Assembly members voted to approve the allocations.
Following the conclusion of the budget consideration process which has taken place over two weeks, Minister Hassan thanked Assembly members for a process which he has described as much more structured and smooth compared to previous years.
“I have been really impressed by the quality of the questions asked and I thank you all for that. I also wish to thank all the officials of the ministry as well as all those who have contributed to the success of the whole budget process,” Minister Hassan said.
The Assembly will resume normal sittings on Tuesday.