President James Michel visited the Fisheries Industrial Estate at Providence and the Small Medium Enterprises (SME) building at the Industrial Estate zone 18 this morning.
This forms par of a series of visits to various communities and businesses with the aim of sharing views emphasis entrepreneurial activities.
The President was received at the Fisheries Industrial Estate by the Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture, Mr. Wallace Cosgrow, Principal Secretary for Fisheries and Agriculture, Mr. Michel Nallatamby, Chairman of the Seychelles Fishing Authority, Mr. Philippe Michaud, Consultant at the Seychelles Fishing Authority, Mr. Clifford Toussaint.
The President visited selected areas such as the warehouse of the fish processing plant which is not in use at the moment as the structure is being amended to enable cooling facilities. President Michel also had discussions with fishermen who expressed their constraints primarily the lack of availability of ice and proper maintenance of the existing ice plant.
Mr. Michel was then briefed on the proposed extension of the fishing port area which will include an ice plant project. The four stage extension is expected to provide better facilities to the fishermen using this port.
President Michel then visited the Small Medium Enterprises (SME) building, whereby he was received by Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation, Mr. Michael Benstrong, Principal Secretary for Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation, Mrs. Maryse Berlouis, Chief Executive Officer of the Industrial Estates Authority, Mr. Vic Tirant and Principal Secretary for Project Planning and Implementation, Mr. Yves Choppy.
The construction of the building, which started in January 2014, is expected to be completed by mid-May. The fifty nine rooms have already been allocated to tenants who will soon start their small businesses there.
Following his visit, the President said that his visit at the port was a follow up of his previous visits to see the infrastructures in place and the progress made in order to make it easier for the fishermen to develop the Blue Economy concept.
“I’ve seen some progress and I have seen some problems equally that have to be addressed. I have instructed the respective Minister and the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) to ensure a speeding up the process of resolving these problems and also to ensure that we progress in that respect. A lot of people have invested in buying boats to do different types of fishing but what we have seen is that there are not enough facilities on land to support that sector. This is where SFA and the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture should put a lot emphasis in building more ice plants as this is major issue that has been put at my attention today. The fishermen want to go fishing but there is no ice. This is an issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible,” said the President.
In relation to the extension of the port, the President explained that this project is being assessed by Japanese experts following his official visit to Japan in 2013.
The President said that he was pleased to see the advancement that has been made on the Small Medium Enterprise building where young entrepreneurs will soon move in to start their business.
“I think it is very popular. It has already got all the tenants that it requires to fill up the building and very soon we will start the construction of another one at Providence. So I think this is the way forward and this is where we have to make it easier for our small entrepreneurs to start, to build up and to progress in their creation of wealth. Here at this micro-enterprise centre they will have a grace period of a few months for them to start their business, then of course the facilities will be provided to them on a rent basis which is affordable,” he said.
He added, “The government is doing its utmost to promote this sector of business, to promote entrepreneurship and to ensure that that there is more ownership and wealth creation by Seychellois.”
The President noted that he is aware of some government departments that are not delivering on time and that a lot of emphasis will be put on facilitating permissions to do business and get access to credit on time.
President James Michel was accompanied by senior officials of the Office of the President.