Government committed to involve private sector in budget process
May 19, 2015
Budget processes as well as the introduction of the 13th month salary, key issues on the agenda of the meeting between Minister Jean-Paul Adam and members of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce.
As part of the ongoing dialogue with the private sector, Mr. Jean Paul Adam, Minister for Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy met with the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce on Monday 18th May 2015. The focus of the discussion was the introduction of the 13th month salary and the budget process amongst others.
Based on the government’s commitment to involve the private sector in the budget review process, it was considered an opportune time for this discussion to take place as the mid-year budget review is near.
It was also an opportunity to discuss the issue of the 13th month salary as was announced by the Principal Secretary for Finance, Mr Patrick Payet. The government is already committed to do this for the public sector, and would very much like the private sector to do the same. According to Minster Adam; “it is obviously very important for us to engage with them on what are the scope and what are the challenges that they face in relation to this.’
It was agreed that further consultation was needed on the question of the 13th month salary, with the private sector expressing concerns that this will increase the cost of business for them. Minister Adam pointed out that this initiative can have several advantages; for example linking the 13th month salary to performance is something which will be done in the public sector. This approach can also be adopted for the private sector and it can even increase productivity, continued Minister Adam. Furthermore, the Minister reiterated that it is a positive way of incentive-based action; “but we do understand their concerns that they have in relation to that cost, we will have an ongoing and inclusive discussions with them to address those concerns systematically”. For example, he continued, this does not necessarily need to be applied at all levels of salary. In the government it has already been said that this will not apply to highest earners but aimed at the middle and the bottom ones.
Minister Adam stated that the government is trying to stimulate a national debate on the issue of budget process. As the Chamber’s concern is the need to reflect the views of all businesses; it has to do it publicly and with regular engagement with the government. The government’s perspective is that consultations on the budget should not be just one month before the budget, but rather continuous and throughout the year.
Minister Adam described the relationship with the private sector as relatively close. He said that these discussions will continue with the view of finding an agreeable way forward as well as putting in place a mechanism for consistent consultations with the private sector.