Businesses, government and individuals urged to curb spending

The Central Bank Of Seychelles (CBS), tasked with the unenviable task of watching the country’s purse strings has, in its most recent press conference once again urged all concerned to curb their spending habits.

It has now become habitual for the CBS Governor Caroline Abel to be seen on air giving the latest developments in the Foreign Exchange reserves and credit lines. More and more, when one sits to think about it her frank assessments are generally messages of doom and gloom.

The long and short of the story is that the country is no longer earning foreign exchange since COVID 19 reared its ugly head in the world. Tourism – which was this country’s main earner, now finds itself on its knees with no apparent relief in the foreseeable future, as the country’s main visitor markets go into second or even third round of infection from the deadly virus.

The CBS’s Governor’s message since things started to go south has always been that, people must keep in mind that while the country is not generating revenue, we still require food, medication and fuel – all commodities which have to be paid for using the precious foreign exchange left in the reserves.

In the latest summary of the said reserves’ state of health, CBS showed payments it has made to the local economy – again using money which is not being replaced.

Meanwhile, every other day, the government is announcing some new relief scheme aimed at helping those who find themselves without a job during this tough time! The question, that begs is – just how sustainable is that?

At the moment the way the economy stands, the more demands made on the dwindling reserves, the higher the dollar climbs and the more the country cannot afford to cater for basic needs. Banks are no longer providing their clients with credit facilities, or to use the words of CBS – “credit is stagnant!”

It was hoped that the re-opening of the international airport would somewhat help alleviate the current condition. Although none were expecting the same number of visitors as in 2019, it was prayed that enough visitors would help lessen the pressure.

When asked whether there were other avenues that the country could consider to generate an income instead of depending heavily on tourism, many of those concerned explained that although this may be the case, starting up new ventures now would not bring in immediate relief. It will take time before any venture will eventually pay dividends.

Given the dire predictions already politicians are using the status quo to win kudos but as yet very few real lasting solutions are being brought to the table. The general feeling is one of gratitude towards Governor Abel who when times were better, had maintained her stance on accumulating reserves despite political pressure especially from opposition to do otherwise!