Seychelles’ tourism industry, value of rupee on positive course, President says
The Seychelles’ tourism industry is recovering following a robust COVID-19 vaccination programme and good planning during the last six months, President Wavel Ramkalawan said in a national address on Monday.
Ramkalawan gave an overview of what his government has achieved after six months in office as the President of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian ocean.
“Getting COVID under control and our vaccination program has enabled us to reopen our country on the 25th March and this has been a big success. Today more airlines and tourists are coming to our country…Our country is once again back on its feet,” he said.
Ramkalawan reminded citizens that putting COVID-19 under control does not depend solely on the government but on each Seychellois and it is therefore important to get vaccinated.
The head of state said he is happy to see the speed at which the rupee has regained its value and the dollar exchange rate is back to how it was before COVID. Inflation is going down and the government coffers are getting more money, he said.
“We are on the right track because these are the basis for us to bring down the cost of living in our country while we reorganize STC (Seychelles Trading Company). I am happy to see that the cost of fuel is going down and so are certain goods. I expect to see the prices going down of commodities entering the country. I appeal to all businesses to pass on the success,” said Ramkalawan.
“Everything I’ve mentioned shows us that we are on the right track but they are not enough for us to address subjects such as housing, social support, better health care and others that need our attention,” he added.
The president highlighted Seychelles’ progress on freedom of the press where the island nation has climbed 11 places from 63rd to 52nd on the latest World Press Freedom Index among 180 countries.
“We have to come out first on the Mo Ibrahin Index for Africa. The principle is simple: we attach great importance on the freedom of the press, freedom of expression and human development,” he said.
Ramkalawan said that while the government has been focused on restarting the economy it has also looked at the country’s governance.
“Every day we identify weaknesses that are affecting the government’s efficiency. Our country has lost benefits in several areas be it financial assistance that we have not claimed with international organisations or scholarships that are fully funded by donating countries,” he said.
He announced several changes in the government’s structures with the aim of making the civil service more efficient, productive and professional.
Ramkalawan ended by calling on Seychellois “to work together to build our country. It is us who will make the change take place in our country.”