5 Years Of Economic Reforms: An Era Of Accountability, Responsibility And Transparency
Thu, 31 October 2013
President James Michel opened the Seychelles Conference at Le Meridien Barbarons hotel this morning, which has been organised on the 5th anniversary of the Seychelles Macro Economic Reform Programme.
During his opening address, President Michel described the five years of reforms a 'new era of modernity' and 'profound change' where the Government implemented a programme which included a strict fiscal regime but also a change of mindset during the harsh realities of the global economic crisis.
"The reform program that my Government has implemented has been – I do believe – one of the most complete and comprehensive macro-economic and structural reform programmes that the world has experienced in recent times. Whilst we are a small nation and to some we may not matter, the widespread recognition of the international community has shown that actually we DO matter, " said President Michel.
The President noted the programme had political implications, but that he took the decisions that needed to be taken without taking into consideration his political career, saying that he took a 'calculated risk with -foremost-the welfare of the Seychellois in mind.' He said that at the time of taking the decision, he had absolute faith in the people of Seychelles, and ensured that the programme would be designed so that 'no Seychellois would be left behind.' He paid tribute to the Seychellois people, saying 'If you have the people's backing, nothing is impossible.'
Mr. Michel noted the success of the economic reforms and the impact they have had in the international arena.
"Seychelles is today respected as a nation which has done the right thing. We have a track record that is recognized by the international community at large, from the multilateral to bilateral partners, rating agencies, as well as commercial financial organizations. We have a track record of implementing appropriate policies. And adhering to them. Our people are respected as a resilient and smart people who found the courage to stand by their Government to make our country a better place, a more prosperous, caring and happier place," he said.
In charting the way forward, Mr. Michel said that the Government would maintain the same discipline that has been exercised in the past five years.
"I would like to take this opportunity today to reassure our development partners that Seychelles remains more than ever committed to a stable and sustainable economy. We will continue to pursue prudent and strong macroeconomic policies.... We will bring down our debt level to a more sustainable target, and in this regard we remain committed to our 50% debt to GDP ratio target by 2018. .....In parallel, we need to continue to invest in our people, in the education of our children, in the health of our citizens and in decent housing for our people. I do recognize that achieving fiscal consolidation and the need for investment are often conflicting objectives. However, as our experience has shown in the past five years in working with key institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, the AfDB, and the European Union, to name but a few, we can actually reconcile those “conflicting objectives” when and where there is flexibility, understanding, especially when the spirit of "give and take" prevails."
The President thanked all the Seychelles' multilateral and bilateral partners for their support, without which the programme would not have succeeded. Among them, he singled out Abu Dhabi for providing a 'generous grant' to Seychelles which allowed the country to 'weather the storm.'