VICTORIA: Seychelles’ 2024 budget, prioritizing the tackling of social ills, was laid out before the National Assembly by the Minister of Finance, Naadir Hassan, on Friday, outlining key infrastructural and social investments, including land reclamation and rehabilitation facilities.
According to Seychelles News Agency, the proposed budget stands at SCR10.6 billion ($731 million), marking a 1 percent increase from the previous year, with revenue forecasts at SCR 10.9 billion ($749 million) for 2024. The Minister stressed that health and education are to receive the lion’s share of budget allocations, amounting to SCR 1.41 billion and SCR 1.40 billion respectively, underscoring the government’s commitment to these vital sectors.
In his address, Hassan detailed initiatives aimed at combating social challenges, such as illicit drug trafficking and addiction. The 2024 budget includes SCR14.5 million for a new rehabilitation center at English River and funds for renovating the Anse Bouden center on Praslin, in response to research indicating a link between substance abuse and poverty. A World Bank study is currently assessing the socioeconomic impact of these issues to guide more effective government interventions.
The Agency for Social Protection will receive SCR 1.3 billion for benefits and programs to support vulnerable groups. Maintaining peace and order is also a budget priority, with SCR62 million allocated for various projects within the Ministry for Internal Affairs, including a new maximum-security prison to house high-risk offenders.
Addressing the need for technological advancement in agriculture, Hassan highlighted plans to encourage hi-tech farming to increase resilience against climate change. A total of SCR 63 million has been earmarked for this initiative, combining budget allocations and loans through the Development Bank of Seychelles.
The industrial sector is set to expand with the reclamation of approximately 50 hectares of land, with environmental assessments and financial planning already underway. Additionally, to foster community engagement from businesses, the government will raise the tax deduction on assessable income for community investments from 100 percent to 150 percent, incentivizing corporate contributions to social projects.
Further details on these programs and their implementation are expected to be released in early 2024 as part of the government’s comprehensive approach to address both the immediate and long-term needs of the Seychellois population.