Seychelles: Country and Foreign Investment
Foreign Investment Regime
The Seychelles government is keen to create a suitable environment for foreign investment. The Investment Promotion Act 1994 legislates inward investment Incentives are granted to approved projects in the domestic and export sectors, including tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and the service industries. Procedures for approval have been streamlined and the incentives include the following:
- Following the issue of a Certificate of Approval, subsequent tax changes cannot be to the detriment of the investor;
- Exemption from import duties on primary and intermediate inputs;
- Entitlement to employ 50% of foreign staff (first 25% at special rate of SR 500 per month; next 25% at the standard rate of SR 1,500 per month);
- Accelerated depreciation up to 150% for certain asset classes;
- Concessionary business tax rates of 15% plus credits giving an effective rate of 9%.
For substantial investments, further incentives can be obtained from the Government on a negotiated basis.
The International Corporate Service Providers Act, 2003, substantially improved and simplified the regime for incoming investment. Previously, the Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA) had power to issue a licence to offshore businesses, but entitlement to fiscal concessions depended on obtaining a certificate from the Ministry of Finance under the Investment Promotion Act.
The new Act streamlined the procedure for establishing an offshore business, avoiding the need for a separate IPA application to the Finance Ministry. See Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes for further details of the new legislation.
In June, 2004, the creation of the Seychelles Investment Bureau (SIB) brought the country's promotion and facilitation of investments under one umbrella, offering a focal point of contact for all matters relating to investment in Seychelles. SIB has been mandated to coordinate the development of the Investment Code, an instrument that will allow a more transparent and stable investment environment.
In September, 2005, SIB launched a new website, which is intended to act as the main marketing tool and the first point of contact for domestic and foreign investors who are considering doing business in the country.
The SIB is a semi-autonomous executive arm of the President's Office. Besides promoting the Seychelles as an investment and business centre, the SIB's other functions include:
- acting as the central agency of the Government dealing with matters relating to business and investment in Seychelles;
- facilitating investment projects and business activities;
- coordinating investment promotion policies, planning and marketing strategies to attract investments;
- facilitating and coordinating incentive schemes established by law to encourage investments;
- and advising the Government on investment policies and elimination of administrative and other barriers to the flow of investments.
In the first quarter of 2009, the Investment Bureau approved 66 development projects valued at around R1.3 billion.
There are three major categories of investments: (i) tourism; (ii) residential and commercial projects, (iii) industrial projects. The tourism projects accounted for 50% of all the approved projects with a value of SR977 million. Out of the total number of approved projects, eight projects were from foreign investment, while the remaining 58 were projects by Seychellois investors.
The website can be found at www.sib.sc.