President Danny Faure yesterday conducted a familiarisation visit to the Ministry of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning to see on-hand the daily functions of the ministry and interacted with the management and staff.
President Faure was accompanied to the different departments by the new minister, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne; the secretary of state for the ministry, Patrick Payet; principal secretaries and other high officials from the ministry and State House.
He learned of the successes and the challenges the ministry faces such as the problem of getting qualified staffing for certain departments and lack of office space in others, among other issues.
The President started his visit at the Internal Audit section at Le Chantier Mall where he was guided to the different offices by the chief internal auditor, Joan Valmont. From the Le Chantier Mall, President Faure and his delegation proceded to Capital City which houses the Treasury section. He was guided around the premises by PS Damien Thésée. Thereafter, President Faure went on foot to the Ministry of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning headquarters to visit the import/export permit section guided by PS for Trade & Investment, Cilia Mangroo.
From visiting the import/permit section, President Faure had a tour of the Post Office guided by the chief executive, Errol Dias. President Faure’s last place to visit was in the ministry’s main head quarters where he visited different offices on the first and second floor of Liberty House, guided by the PS for economic planning Elizabeth Agathine.
After the visits, President Faure held a meeting with the top officials of the ministry where Minister Loustau-Lalanne assured him that the ministry was on the correct footing.
He noted that more revenue will be collected within the law so as to lower some costs and target to lower Seychelles’ debt.
He said the budget is now being done on a three-year plan and they have to make sure that targets for 2018, 2019, and 2020 are achieved.
“I think it is very important, with my experience from the other ministry (Tourism) that I engaged more in contact with the business environment in Seychelles so as to listen and understand them so that I can make sure I bring more wealth for the population,” he said.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne said that some revenue belonging to the government is still out there and we have to do whatever we can to collect this revenue and put it in the government budget. It is very important that we do this.
“If your business is doing better than last year it is rightly normal to pay a little more tax,” he added, noting that the ministry will not be out there to target businesses for the sake of collecting taxes but will do so in the lawful framework.
He said that President Faure had re-assured him of his office’s full support to the ministry.
As the ministry is revolving, the secretary of state, Patrick Payet, said that there are great improvements in the functions of the ministry since the economic development progamme in 2008 and more is to come with the new strategic reformed action plan in the public accounts management.
“At the treasury, people used to wait for five days to get paid and now it takes only 24 hours for the funds to be transferred in their accounts. Before the economic reform we had internal sections in the different ministries and departments and now we have centralised the internal audit to bring more resources to the ministry of finance,” he said on reforms undertaken by the ministry.
He said the ministry is targeting to achieve 50% of debt GDP ratio by 2020.
Mr Payet also said that staff have also suggested to President Faure that there is a closer working relationship with ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) which is lacking at the moment.
It is to be noted that President Faure was the minister for finance 6 years ago. The Ministry of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning employs 345 staff.
The accompanying photos show President Faure during his visits to some of the ministry’s departments.