Victoria — The Seychelles Fair Trading Commission (FTC) reported the collection of the highest fine in its history, as detailed in the 2022 annual report, despite observing a decline in the number of consumer complaints.
According to Seychelles News Agency, telecommunications provider Cable and Wireless was subjected to a fine of SCR800,000 ($60,452) for collusion, marking a record enforcement action by the FTC. SNA’s interview with CEO Nathalie Edmond shed light on the FTC’s initiatives, challenges, and accomplishments.
Edmond detailed the creation of a tribunal under the judiciary’s purview, which began operations in March following the establishment of its rules in February. This tribunal has already made progress on a backlog of over 60 cases, with sessions currently held twice a week to expedite case resolutions.
The FTC has encountered challenges such as the lack of necessary expertise for conducting certain tests to determine regulatory breaches and delays in acquiring needed information. Furthermore, required legal amendments by cooperating authorities have also posed obstacles to efficient operations.
Despite these challenges, the FTC has launched new software to streamline complaint processing, assigning tracking numbers to complainants for greater transparency and efficiency. This digital transition represents a shift from the Commission’s previous manual procedures.
Successes for the FTC include the implementation of a new law enhancing its enforcement powers and the introduction of fixed penalties ranging from SCR500 ($38) to SCR20,000 ($1,540) to act as a deterrent. The FTC has conducted over 100 inspections across Seychelles, with a record 111 inspections last year alone. Additionally, the FTC’s ruling against Cable and Wireless signals a significant enforcement milestone, coupled with an impressive 78 percent resolution rate of cases, exceeding the initial target of 70 percent.
Looking ahead, the FTC focuses on enhanced efficiency through newly established software and regulatory measures, aiming to foster better collaboration with other entities and quicker resolution of cases. Edmond also emphasized the importance of media relations as a conduit for information dissemination, with the ultimate goal of empowering consumers to make informed decisions.