Taxi Operators Association pays courtesy call to Minister Larose

July 10, 2017

Members of the Taxi Operators Association paid a courtesy call to Dr. Peter Larose, the Minister for Finance, Trade and Economic Planning this week. The courtesy call was initiated to introduce the newly elected members of the Association, as well as discuss issues of concerns.

The Chairman of the Association, Mr. Jemmy Bonne, stated that it is important that this meeting takes place to establish the foundation of a continued partnership. Mr. Bonne said that the Association is seeking the support of the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Economic Planning to help address some of the challenges they are facing.

Minister Larose welcomed members of the Association and commended them on the work they are doing and pointed out the importance of having dialogues between the two parties. Dr. Larose said that he is ready to consult and listen to the private sector with a view to better fine-tune the country’s economic policy. 

There were nine (9) main issues of focus; (I) the construction of a building for the association, (2) concessions on tax, (3) insurance exemption/reduction, (4) loan interests, (5) advantages and disadvantages of tariff meters,(6) responsibilities of Destination Management Companies (DMC), (7) possibility of re-introducing quota system for taxi operators, (8) compensation and retirement benefits, (9) extension and reduction for repayment of car loans to name but a few.

One of their major setbacks is the lack of an office to receive clients, a proper waiting area, where they can display information to locals and tourists alike. “Taxi operators contribute a lot in the tourism industry and we want to provide a better service”, said the Chair, Mr. Bonne. Another main issue is the high cost of loan interests at Government-owned banks, especially for members, who do not have an account at the two banks; Seychelles Commercial Bank and Nouvobanq. 

There was also the issue of DMCs and private cars operating, and/or, doing transfers from the airport. Taxi operators are paying high interest rates on their car loans, whilst the private car owners are not, and are yet operating as taxis. Members believe that this is unfair and something should be done about it.

The taxi operators have also made a proposition to extend the repayment on the car loans beyond the period of 5 years.  

On the issue of quota, the Association is proposing that the quota system be re-introduced for taxi operators for a number of reasons; namely the lack of space in most areas.  According to Mr. Bonne, there are 460 taxi operators in Seychelles, with an additional 15 to 20 new applications expected to be approved and is calling on the Ministry to assist in this area as well.

 Dr. Larose pointed out that taxi operators contribute substantially to the country’s economy through the services they provide to the tourism industry and local commuters. He said that he understands the challenges they are facing and assured them that the issues will be dealt with systematically.  “We will continue with our dialogues. By the way, I commend the Association’s for its vision to construct its own building in ensuring a high standard of service and continuity in this business”, said Dr.Larose.

On his part, Mr. Bonne thanked the Minister and his staff to meet with them. He reassured him that the Taxi Operators Association would like to continue future discussions with the Ministry in finding a lasting solution. 

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