The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, has announced the government’s decision to extend GST concessions, which hotels benefited from under the Tourism Incentive Act (TIA). In a press conference with Minister Pierre Laporte, the Minister responsible for Finance Commerce and Investment, Minister St.Ange said that the government has listened to the tourism trade concerns, and to their request to retain the benefits under the Tourism Investment Act until the implementation of the Value Added Tax in December 2012.
“When the government announced the postponement of Value Added Tax (VAT), partners of the tourism industry wrote and appealed to the government to retain the privileges in terms of concessions, which they benefited under the Tourism Incentive Act (TIA). They appealed for a prolongation of the TIA until the implementation of VAT. They have expressed concerns that with the removal of concession under the TIA, they would suffer with an increase in their cost of operation for hotels. Together with Minister Laporte, we have discussed the issue. Today, I am happy to announce that we have listened to the concerns of the private sector trade and that a collective decision had been taken to extend the benefits of the TIA until December 2012. GST concessions under the TIA remain, therefore, applicable for goods imported by hotels for the smooth running of their establishments and not for any third party. When the Value Added Tax will come into force, the Tourism Incentive Act will eventually disappear,” Minister St.Ange said.
Another decision taken by the government is the elimination of the free trade zone for shops selling tax free commodities.
“The Seychelles Investment Trade Zone (SITZ) was initially conceived for companies venturing into the Free Trade Zone to export more than 80 percent of their goods overseas and so benefited from different concessions. When Seychelles was facing a shortage of foreign exchange earnings, businesses operating under the Seychelles Investment Trade Zone were allowed to sell their commodities tax free and in foreign exchange with tourism establishments. In our current economy context, we cannot allow free trade zone companies to import commodities and sell them tax free to local companies. They should be operating under the same mechanism as any shops selling commodities in the country,” Minister Laporte, the Minister responsible for Finance explained.