In the National Assembly |25 March 2021
Nisti, Esa, IEA budgets approved
The National Assembly yesterday approved the budget allocations for the National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation; Entreprise Seychelles Agency; and Industrial Estates Authority.
All of these entities fall under the purview of the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry.
Before the National Assembly started its deliberations on the budget heads yesterday, Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry Minister Devika Vidot sought to clarify the new government’s stance on the citizenship by investment policy, an issue which arose in the National Assembly’s sitting on Tuesday.
The minister responsible for the investment, industry and entrepreneurship portfolios stressed that the policy of foreign investors qualifying for Seychellois citizenship is not an avenue that the new government will pursue.
Minister Vidot noted that this stance also applies to citizenship given by the President under Section 5(1) of the Citizenship Act.
“This is a practice that we will not be undertaking and firmly stand on this point, and this position will not change,” said Minister Vidot.
National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation (Nisti)
A sum of R4,626,000 was approved for the National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation (Nisti) yesterday, a R1.6 million decrease from its budget last year.
As announced in President Wavel Ramkalawan’s first series of restructuring, Nisti will be integrated as a division within the department of industry and entrepreneurship.
“This is so as to underscore the importance of innovation and give it the necessary promotion when it comes to businesses in the Seychelles,” explained Minister Vidot.
Minister Vidot highlighted that Nisti will play a key part in pushing for innovation in the business space.
“Nisti will promote research and development using our natural resources such as cinnamon which is not being exploited in its full potential ‒ in fact the ministry will soon come out with scheme on how to revive that industry and much more,” she stated.
“The aim of moving Nisti under the department of industry and entrepreneurship is to promote research and development in industries and move away from the aspect of mandating Nisti to do these. We want to centralise where applications are made, because at present there are many research being conducted but no centralised place to monitor them and no space to find these information and make good use of them,” added Minister Vidot.
The government expects to receive funding from an international organisation for the setting up of an innovation and business incubator, to help power the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) approved Nisti’s budget by 31 votes.
Enterprise Seychelles Agency (Esa)
Compared to its 2020 revised budget of R10,368,000, Esa has this year been provided with R8,703,000 for its expenses.
As mentioned in the sitting on Tuesday, the agency responsible for implementing the government’s policies relating to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will merge with the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) sometime in the future, although no specific timeframe has been provided.
Esa was established in 2018, the successor to the Small Enterprise Promotion Agency (Senpa) which was set up in 2004.
“Esa is one of these agencies that will help us achieve the objective of promoting and encouraging local businesses and local production. This is already in its mandate and is assisting micro, small and medium sized businesses,” remarked Minister Vidot.
Chief executive of Esa, Angelic Appoo, said that the R1.6 million reduction in Esa’s budget is a reflection of how the organisation is seeking to bring more efficiency in its operations, such as reducing costs related to printing and stationery, cleaning, electricity and acquisition of equipment.
“There is also a reduction when it comes to contracts of services we outsource, including a reduction in the allowances for the seed capital committee and Esa board for this year,” said CEO Appoo.
Esa’s budget was approved with 32 votes in favour, none against and two abstentions.
Industrial Estates Authority (IEA)
With a new chief executive at its helm, the IEA yesterday came to the National Assembly with a budget of R47,486,000, which was approved.
Roy Collie, IEA’s new chief executive, joined Minister Vidot and principal secretary for industry and entrepreneurship Angelique Antat to defend the authority’s budget.
The mandate of the Industrial Estate Authority (IEA) is to facilitate the development of a diversified industrial estate through the creation of an enabling environment guided by government policies and strategies. The authority is responsible for allocating and managing land for industrial use.
At present, the moratorium on transfer of land for that purpose is still in place as revisions within the authority and an audit exercise is being undertaken.
“There are a lot of issues that have been identified so far such as the master list which was not properly managed, breach of leases that have not been addressed, arrears that have not been paid and we have called on people to come and pay these arrears,” said Minister Vidot.
“In our total budget we have received an increase of R30,952,000 and this makes provisions for two capital projects in Zone 20 for R19.9 million and Zil Eve for R11.7 million,” explained Mr Collie.
“There is also a reduction of R817,000 in wages and salaries, and goods and services,” he added.
IEA’s budget of R47.5 million was approved unanimously.