Two (2) weeks ago the Central Bank of Seychelles tapped into our reserves, which was 2 ½ months of food purchase and imports to buttress the drastically falling Seychelles Rupee that had devalued by 35% in Six (6) months. Since the IMF reform had started, the Seychelles Rupee has devalued by over 50% outpacing the Black Market rates in 2009 at the commercial banks. If the Central Bank did not intervene, the Seychelles Rupee would go into free fall.
To explain away this Central Bank intervention, in a very volatile currency market, Mr. President went on SBC in “A Moment With Mr. President”, and covered up the Central Bank intervention, that has attempted in vain, to save his failing economic policies, which he cunningly calls “A FREE MARKET”.
There is nothing really “free” about this market under James Michel. I am beginning to think his perception of “Free Market” has nothing “free” about it.
Rule: Devaluation of Seychelles Rupee is Due to Lack of Inflow of Foreign Exchange
The Governor of the Central Bank Caroline Abel has gone on SBC to tell the People of Seychelles that the devaluation of the Seychelles Rupee is due to a lack of inflow of foreign exchange.
Lack of inflow is a direct consequence of decisions Government of Seychelles has taken in the recent years and past months, which in fact have curbed Seychelles ability to continue to maintain adequate inflows, to meet demand for hard currency , and keep the Seychelles Rupee stable in a rapidly changing World.
Basically, to run a country these days, Mr. President has to be on his toes, and his Ministers need to know how to tip toe. Some do, but most simply cannot.
What Policy Is Causing The Failure?
We all know Fisheries has been under threat by pirates for years. But for the last Two (2) years, the purse seiners have carried on them, armed men as escorts, as per numerous articles I wrote asking Government to permit this for Five (5) years. After Three (3) years, they relented to the idea, permitted it, but only foreign companies can do this work. Seychellois are banned, and hence, a source of foreign exchange is lost. Today, the canning factory is back on line producing tuna.
A few commission middle men in government may be banking money overseas, for fishing rights licenses, but they are not many people. But they do bank a large amount overseas fraudulently, and Government of Seychelles, IMF must see to it that they not only return this money, but they are fully prosecuted to give credibility back to the Michel Administration, who up to now, appears to be protecting and promoting them.
We do not have just a drug problem in Seychelles growing around marijuana, cocaine, heroin, we have a corruption problem, and this government has in silence, protected its big fat fish that thrive off it. Mr. President has talked tough on corruption, but has done nothing to balance the tough talk with action.
In the end, this aggravates the suffering and pain, of every single Seychellois man, woman, child, infant. Mr. President, our people are SUFFERING! I say SUFFERING, man!
$2.1 Billion Deposit In Swiss Accounts By Seychellois Citizens
By co incidence, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) – Switzerland’s Central Bank has released a report this week, that list Seychelles Citizens having deposited $ US 2.1 Billion into their accounts. This corresponds accurately with the IMF estimate of $2.5 Billion evaded by Seychelles Citizens.
This illicit capital flight has severe consequences for …[Seychelles], it cancels investment, undermines trade, hurts competition, worsens income gaps and drains hard currency reserves of [Seychelles].
Are you reading this Mr. President? Are you still there?
Tourism Malaise Getting Worse
The biggest problem concerning inflow of foreign exchange is Tourism underperformance.
Well, if you want tourist to come to Seychelles, you need a marketing program and strategy implemented every year. Who is the Marketing Director of Seychelles Tourism Board? No one.
Where is the Marketing Budget? Spent on Carnival, once a year and used to pay the printing of books St. Ange hands out on visits to diplomats?
To add to this malaise, Mr. President took Alain St. Ange a good front man and excellent time tested back slapper, who is good at promotions, and made him a Minister, resigned to speeches and policy reworking in the realm of theory.
Now, St. Ange, with all his talents, is whisking off to Rio, Brazil for a conference, back for a few days, then off to the UN for a speech on Tourism in the World, then back to Mauritius for “Festival of Shopping” parade opening. While there, he promotes the “Vanilla Islands” partnership, lobbies to become President of the Vanilla Committee of the Indian Ocean and does, since no one else wants the title, then he schedules a meeting of this committee at National House. Before he gets back, he spins off to Madagascar, and tries to promote Tourism there. He comes back to Seychelles, then he hops over to La Reunion, to try to get Air Austral more involved in Seychelles as they shelved direct flights from Charles De Gaulle this March, because Etihad had bought Air Seychelles. Every step of the way, he feeds e- turbo, with press releases, a Tourism portal. Yes, Seychelles name is on the web, but the deals to make Tourist come to Seychelles are not being sealed. The relations with partners are not being patched up. This affects the foreign exchange inflow and Seychelles’ bottom line.
St. Ange is playing the policy and diplomacy card of being a Minister. The end effect on Seychelles bottom line , is simple, no one is promoting Seychelles as a Tourism destination in real time, to deal with the real partners, who have real problems with our product. Cost, difficulty to get to Seychelles, theft and robberies against tourists, rip off prices, high taxes, poor service, and so on.
With total neglect of our partners needs and concerns over our product overseas, the consequence is a not so respectable bottom line which has Pierre Laporte the Minister of Finance screaming and getting aggressive, and Mr. President, saying all kinds of funny things to: 1. justify a volatile currency market, 2. justify Central Bank intervention in the markets,3. justify using 30 days food reserve money to prop up a failing industry, because a Minister, focused on grandiose policy, image promotion has taken his eye off the ball in a crisis, in my view and opinion.
Three (3) Month Rule Does Not Work When You have A Crisis
After the reshuffle of Ministers took place at the beginning of the year, Mr. President told us in a Cabinet SBC filming that he has: “asked the ministers to submit a Three (3) month plan for their ministries, like a business”. Cute!
But in reality, when a crisis takes over, there is no time for Three (3) month plans. It is in crisis times, that the metal and character, and personal ability of ministers are tested, even if some prefer to consider “a crisis” only when their wife or husband discovers the lovers on the side whose life style is fueled by ministry perks.
When Our Crisis Started
When Air Seychelles stopped flights from Europe, our crisis Mr. President, started. Simple.
Unless direct flights are re instated, unless St. Ange is sent back to STB to be the Marketing Director, we will all be in a prolonged crisis.
We must all in one voice, give credit where credit is due, the man did a good job interacting with tourism trade partners on a day to day basis, and dealing with marketing of the destination, sometimes with very limited resources, but he did what he could and he was effective during crisis times.
We need St. Ange where he is most effective: STB Marketing Director, and he must be also tasked to groom the next Marketing Director before he retires from the post, a job he did not do while at STB.
While you are dealing with this crisis, Mr. President, recall we have a shortage of nurses and doctors at the hospital. To end this crisis, I propose you send all MNA doctors and nurses back to the hospital where they are needed in times of crisis. There is another SOLUTION!
In the meantime…….
While Mr. President is sorting this mess out, created by himself, which has put us in a crisis, which explains the continued volatility in the currency markets, high inflation, devaluation, revaluation, then another tap, into another $100 Million in our 30 day food reserve in October 2012,please, I say please, either, I say either, negotiate with Etihad to allow Air Seychelles to run direct flights from Europe Charles De Gaulle, a key hub for Seychelles weekly, or, I say or, let us pull people and resources together, to start another airline, without Etihad’s involvement and start direct flights, before all of Seychelles ends up at Mont Fleuri, at the same time, to buy a plot for you know what.
Some of us do not need to buy plots, yes of course.
Sesel Pou Seselwa!
May God Bless All Freedom Loving Seychellois!