National Assembly questions VP Afif on inner island affairs and push towards digitalising services within MDAs |10 December 2020
Vice President Ahmed Afif, who holds the portfolio for information communications technology and principal secretary Benjamin Choppy’s sitting within the National Assembly was mainly centred on government’s objectives for the development and incorporation of ICT within governmental organisations.
As for elected member for Baie Ste Anne, Churchill Gill of United Seychelles, he wanted to know that given the economic importance of inner islands Praslin and La Digue, if it is in the government’s plans to have a ministry which has portfolio to manage inner islands as was the case before.
Vice President Afif said there will not be a specific minister assigned the inner islands portfolio but reassured the assembly that government is considerate of the significant economic contributions of the inner islands and their importance to creating employment opportunities, as well as the constraints they are faced with in being located further away from main infrastructure.
He went on to note that President Wavel Ramkalawan has vowed to have more oversight on affairs pertaining to the islands, with the relevant departments instructed to act in a similar manner.
“The President has decided to fast-track everything that has to do with Praslin and La Digue. It is in that spirit that he wants to work. The President has also planned a trip this coming Friday, and I would suppose that you have been notified, and the President will again hold consultations with stakeholders, to ensure that the mandate that he has to see that things flow well on Praslin and La Digue, he understands the situations on Praslin. Just as when he went to La Digue recently, he met with all the institutions and we are moving forward with the hospital,” VP Afif stated, in response to Honourable Churchill Gill, member for Baie St Anne Praslin.
The aim of the visit he said, is to look into the available infrastructure on Praslin, with the aim of establishing a centre at which residents can access necessary centralised services, such as the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA), and the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) among others.
Several members of the assembly, mainly from the United Seychelles (US) opposition, proposed that inner islands should be assigned a designated portfolio so as to guarantee that decisions are formalised and within a framework.
Vice President Afif also noted ongoing works to eventually facilitate digital payments and cashless transactions within ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as well as to lower the cost of telecommunications services, most specifically internet connectivity.
By the end of 2021, all MDAs are expected to have Point of Sales (POS) machines at the least.