Budget Speech 2020 |06 November 2019
Assembly leaders give their replies
The two leaders in the National Assembly – leader of the opposition Wavel Ramkalawan and leader of government business Charles de Commarmond – yesterday gave their replies to the 2020 budget, during the assembly’s sitting.
Speaking first, Mr Ramkalawan said that the 2020 budget leaves no glimmer of hope for a better tomorrow for the population. While he acknowledged the hard work of the Ministry of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning in putting together the budget, Mr Ramkalawan questioned whether the propositions put forth are political tactics ahead of the 2020 Presidential election.
Mr Ramkalawan criticised the government for “maintaining” the country as opposed to taking bold and innovative decisions noting that his party, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) is analysing the budget in detail and will not hesitate to freeze and in other instances push for budget increases to meet the expectations of the people.
In regards to the budget for the fisheries sector, Mr Ramkalawan noted that the budget fails to encourage young Seychellois to join the industry noting that the government also needs to listen to players in the agricultural sector towards the development of the sector.
Mr Ramkalawan also pronounced his views on the business tax regime noting that relevant authorities, including the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC), need to perform better in terms of revenue and tax collection and improved, simpler and more comprehensive tax regimes are imperative.
He also addressed the issue of Air Seychelles and government subsidies to the company, and the proposed increase in grants from R145,006 million in 2019 to R647,484 million in the 2020 budget seeking more information about both subjects.
Mr Ramkalawan further noted that the Minister for Finance Maurice Loustau-Lalanne needs to update the Assembly as to compensation for residents of La Misère who were affected by contaminated water some years ago.
“We need value for our money. I urge all Seychellois who have a responsibility to cut-costs to make good use of the budget. I also urge everyone to pay the taxes they are supposed to. This is our country. Our youths need a good education. Everybody’s health is important. A good salary is essential to all workers. Seychelles needs to unite in the battle against drugs,” Mr Ramkalawan stated to conclude his reply.
Contrary to Mr Ramkalawan, Mr de Commarmond expressed his support for the proposed budget noting that the government has through the budget indicated its continuous commitment to its people stating several announced initiatives including the increment in minimum wage from R33.30 per hour to R38.27 as from next year as well as numerous notable achievements under his government over the years.
He went on to elaborate on the budget for salary increments within the public sector as well as reforms to the social service system, noting increments for home carers from R6,060.60 to R6,633.47.
With regard to cost of living, Mr de Commarmond appealed to the government to put in place a mechanism to assist families who are renting properties from the private sector noting that prices are extremely high.
He further expressed his support for the proposition to introduce flexible working hours within the public sector noting that this will be of particular convenience to mothers.
He also welcomed the idea of upfront payments for small contractors as proposed in the 2020 budget, and the proposal to review the business tax regime.
Mr de Commarmond concluded his address by saluting the efforts of the government towards finalising and including in the 2020 budget compensation for residents of Petit Paris where tar is produced.
Referring to his own constituency, Cascade, Mr de Comarmond noted the reconstruction of the community centre and day care centre at a cost of R3.28 million as well as housing projects from which residents of Cascade will benefit.
“We need to remain strong as a government and to work harder for the people to see how prosperity is shared among all. Mr Speaker, I ask that President Faure continue to work hard to bring our country and people to another level,” Mr de Commarmond stated to conclude his reply.