- James Michel, the new President of Seychelles, announced that he will present "broad lines of an updated economic strategy" within next month. President Michel inherited a stagnating economy from his predecessor, France Albert René, as he took over in April.
President Michel said on Tuesday that he will in June announce the broad lines of an updated economic strategy. He said this will be the "culmination of an ongoing re-evaluation" of the Macroeconomic Reform Programme (MERP) that had resulted from consultations that have been held with the different stakeholders in the economy.
The new Seychellois Head of State also said he will not appoint an economic adviser but will opt for teams rather than individuals, allowing him room to consult with other individuals and groups from within government and from outside as the needs and issues arise.
He then announced the appointment of a core committee headed by the President as chairman, and comprising the Vice-President, Designated Minister, Governor of the Central Bank, the managing director of Seychelles Marketing Board, the Secretary of State, principal secretary of Economic Planning, the director general of Finance, and the director of Research and Statistics at Central Bank.
- Other individuals will be co-opted when specific issues arise, said President Michel. "I will also be looking at the setting up of other forums to discuss pertinent issues of national importance," he added. He was talking to chief executives, who had invited him to their extraordinary meeting in the capital.
The 68-year-old President told them their invitation for him to attend the forum coincided with his own desire to meet with them and share some of the key thrusts and directions of his administration. President Michel said he last month made an undertaking to "build on the success" of his predecessor and his team "in taking Seychelles where it is today."
- But these are new times that require a review of how we do things and what it will take to deliver the promise of good, transparent and effective government as well as a happier and more prosperous country, he said.
Ex-President René, who ruled Seychelles for over 27 years after coming to power in a coup in 1977. Mr René led the country through a 1977-93 one-party socialist dictatorship into a limited democracy with a mixed economy.
During the last decades, Seychelles has become an economic success story, largely due to its ability to attract large-scale luxury tourism to the Indian Ocean archipelago. The strongly regulated Seychellois economy has however stagnated during the last few years, partly as consequence of the worldwide drop in the tourism sector.
President Michel has so far indicated that he will accelerate the deregulation and diversification of the national economy. Employment Minister Vincent Meriton on Monday announced new approaches toward promoting employment in the country in stronger cooperation with the private sector. Also education was to be given further importance.
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