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Seychelles


Seychelles

 

SEYCHELLES

HISTORY AND POLITICAL STRUCTURE

The Republic of Seychelles comprises 115 islands occupying a land area of 455 km² and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million km² in the western Indian Ocean. It represents an archipelago of legendary beauty that extends from between 4 and 10 degrees south of the equator and which lies between 480km and 1,600km from the east coast of Africa.   Of these 115 islands, 41 constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth while a further 74 form the low-lying coral atolls and reef islands of the Outer Islands.

The granitic islands of the Seychelles archipelago cluster around the main island of Mahι, home to the international
airport and the capital, Victoria, and its satellites Praslin and La Digue.   Together, these Inner Islands form the cultural
and economic hub of the nation and contain the majority of Seychelles’ tourism facilities as well as its most stunning
beaches.

Since independence in 1976, per capita output in this Indian Ocean archipelago has expanded to roughly seven times
the pre-independence, near-subsistence level, moving the island into the upper-middle income group of countries.
Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labor force and provides more than 70%
of hard currency earnings, and by tuna fishing. In recent years, the government has encouraged foreign investment
to upgrade hotels and other services. At the same time, the government has moved to reduce the dependence on
tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing. GDP grew about 7-8% per
year in 2006-07, driven by tourism and a boom in tourism-related construction. The Seychelles rupee was allowed to
depreciate in 2006 after being overvalued for years and fell by 10% in the first 9 months of 2007. Despite these actions,
the Seychelles economy has struggled to maintain its gains and in 2008 suffered from food and oil price shocks, a
foreign exchange shortage, high inflation, large financing gaps, and the global recession. In July 2008 the government
defaulted on a Euro amortizing note worth roughly US$80 million, leading to a downgrading of Seychelles credit rating,
but in October 2010 the EU approved a $2.9 million grant as part of a larger four-year program for Seychelles. In re-
sponse to Seychelles successful implementation of tighter monetary and fiscal policies, the IMF upgraded Seychelles
to a three-year extended fund facility (EFF) of $31 million in December 2009. In 2008, GDP fell more than 1% due to
declining tourism, but the economy recovered in 2009-10 with a notable increase in tourist numbers for 2010.

ECONOMY

Seychelles is a young country, settled for only 250 years and independent for little more than 30 years from the British. But with the energy of such a young nation it is striving to forge its own destiny, facing challenges and overcoming them, ready to unleash its potential.

Seychelles is moving steadily and unstoppably forward, making the most of modern technology and its unique, vibrant, dynamic mix of peoples and cultures. A worldwide mix, with the open, positive mindset of a community formed through immigration and emigration, Seychelles is an archipelago of small islands with a global imagination, where thinking outside the box is a way of life.

Independent since 1976 and embracing a multi party democratic system since 1993, Seychelles offers a level of social and political stability unfound in other countries in the region.

The country’s high standard of living, small population size and welcoming attitude to visitors - a result of the country’s long standing commitment to the tourist trade, but also the islands’ inhabitants natural warmth - combine to make Seychelles a safe and stable place for business and for life.

In accordance with the stabilization process, the development of infrastructure, education and health was undertaken
to create a solid base for future economic growth. Today the country is in transition from central planning to a free
market economy with greater private sector involvement. The government has since 2006 proceeded to privatize state
held assets, ranging from manufacturing activities to financial services.   Privatization of assets is still ongoing.

However, strategic social sectors of the economy, including the generation of electricity, provision of treated water,
imports of essentials and staple commodities and public transport remain under government control. Tourism and
fisheries remain as the back bone of the economy and provide the bulk of Seychelles foreign exchange earnings.

 

The financial services sector is currently being developed as the third pillar of the national economy.

 

Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labor force and provides more than 70%
of hard currency earnings, and by tuna fishing. In recent years, the government has encouraged foreign investment
to upgrade hotels and other services. At the same time, the government has moved to reduce the dependence on
tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing. GDP grew about 7-8% per
year in 2006-07, driven by tourism and a boom in tourism-related construction. The Seychelles rupee was allowed to
depreciate in 2006 after being overvalued for years and fell by 10% in the first 9 months of 2007. Despite these actions,
the Seychelles economy has struggled to maintain its gains and in 2008 suffered from food and oil price shocks, a
foreign exchange shortage, high inflation, large financing gaps, and the global recession. In July 2008 the government
defaulted on a Euro amortizing note worth roughly US$80 million, leading to a downgrading of Seychelles credit rating,
but in October 2010 the EU approved a $2.9 million grant as part of a larger four-year program for Seychelles.

 

 

In response to Seychelles successful implementation of tighter monetary and fiscal policies, the IMF upgraded Sey-
chelles to a three-year extended fund facility (EFF) of $31 million in December 2009. In 2008, GDP fell more than 1%
due to declining tourism, but the economy recovered in 2009-10 with a notable increase in tourist numbers for 2010.

Seychelles will be one of six countries from Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) to sign an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.

Beforehand, representatives of the ESA countries will discuss with their European counterparts ways to move the
process forward to create a long-term economic relationship between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific
countries.

In the framework of the interim EPA, the EU granted full access to the European market as of January 1, 2008 with
temporary exceptions for rice and sugar, while the ESA countries will liberalize their markets only partially and in phases
over 15 years.

 

The partnership agreement for the ESA region also includes provisions for development cooperation and fisheries.

WHY CHOOSE SEYCHELLES WHEN STARTING A BUSINESS?

Seychelles’ location outside the cyclone belt, in a time zone whose working hours overlap with those of major financial
centers, its excellent sea and air connections with Europe, USA, Asia and Africa make it an excellent place to conduct
business.

An efficient telecommunications system together with other advantages such as the extensive facilities available at its harbor, Port Victoria, and a well-developed infrastructure with attractive investment incentives, offer the ideal business environment to investors.

“The islands of Seychelles are not merely the exotic destinations for honeymooners and vacationers in general but have grown over the years to be recognized as one of the worlds’ most developed international business centers. Other than sea, sand and sea shells - Seychelles has much to offer.

 

Seychelles offers the following advantages and opportunities to investors:

 

 

1) Environment and Location

 

•   Stable political environment

•   High environmental standards

•   Ideal location in the Indian Ocean, midway between the largest trading and manufacturing blocks of Asia and
Europe, and a business stepping stone into Africa. Favorable Time Zone (GMT +4)

•   Nice weather all year through

•   Strategic location outside the cyclone belt

 

2) Land and natural Resources

 

•   Attractive land leasing costs

•   Clean and Unpolluted natural water supply

 

3) Skilled Human Resource

 

•   English / French speaking dynamic local work force

•   High adult literacy rates - 96% Possibilities for recruitment of foreign workers also exist for certain sectors

 

4) Large Growing Market

 

83,000 local consumers with growing disposable income

•   A rapidly growing middle class

•     140,000+ visitors annually and growing

 

5) Well establish infrastructure and Legal System

 

•   Regular sea and air links to Europe, Asia and Africa

•   Comprehensive road networks - 514 km (498 km surfaced)

•   Excellent telecommunications network and IT services

•   Basic infrastructures provided (electricity and water connections)

•   Well established Port facilities with two deepwater berths

•   Legal system based on English Commercial Law and a Civil Code based on Napoleonic Code

•   Concessions guaranteed by law

•   No visa requirements (Residence permits + work permits easily available for foreign investors)

•   An investment code which provides a legal climate that is conducive to a greater flow of investment and
business.

 

Placing an order for the formation of a company

 

The Incorporation of Seychelles off-shore companies is governed by the Seychelles Companies Act 1972.

The formation of a Seychelles International Business Company can take place by using an order form which can be provided by the Registry Agent.

You can also buy a ready-made company from the list available. A ready-made company normally has an open configuration (its directors are not yet appointed and the shares are not yet issued). Therefore the final configuration of a shelf company is made at a later stage.

In additions you are not obliged to prepare or file any financial accounts but it is    recommended in practice to prepare or file them in your office.

The Registry Agent will check the name availability of the company (whether there is no company under such name already). In Seychelles the law requires that all financial service providers know the identity of their client so the actual contact details must be indicated at the Registry Agent.   This information remains confidential.

 

Requirements for the Registration of an IBC

 

•   Director: Minimum of one Director. Corporations are permitted.

•   Secretary: A secretary is not required.

•   Shareholder: Minimum of one shareholder. Corporations are permitted.

 

Shareholders and Directors may be the same.

 

•   Shares & Capital: Any amount is permitted, but shares must be held at the registered office.

•   Name of the Company: Must end with one of the following suffixes: Limited or Ltd, Corporation or Corp, Incorpo-
rated or Inc, Societe Anonyme or S.A., Sociedad Anonima or S.A.

•   Company must have a registered office and a registered agent in Seychelles.

 

Required Documents to register the company:

 

•   Notarized Copy of your Passport.

•   Notarized Copy of utility bill for address verification less than 3 months old

•   Application documents.

 

When all the details are confirmed and the payment for the relevant fees received, the Registry Agent will prepare
the Memorandum and the Article of Association of the new International Business Company. These will be filed with
the Registry of International Business Companies in Seychelles. There is no need to sign any statutory info, the initial
company formation documents are prepared and signed on your behalf by the Registered Agent always under the pro-
cedures set by the Seychelles International Companies Act. The Registered agent will file the corporate documents of
the company, will pay the applicable registration fees and arrange for the documents to be submitted to the Seychelles
Registrar of companies for registration. All the relevant documents will be kept in the Registered Agents office.

 

Corporate documents of an IBC

 

•   Original Certificate of Incorporation

•   Original Memorandum and Articles of Association

•   Apostille Bound set of :

 

- Copy of the Certificate of Incorporation

- Copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Copy of the   Resolution of the Subscriber in writing

 

•   Share Certificate

•   Original Consent to act as Secretary

•   Original Resolution of the Subscriber in writing

•   Original Resolution of Director in Writing

 

In addition an annual renewal fee must be paid (IBCs, pay these fees in lieu to tax) to the Seychelles government. An annual professional fee must also be paid to the Registered Agent which is also on a yearly basis.

Important! The annual renewal fees MUST be paid on time. Non-payment of annual renewal fees will make the company lose its status of good standing, and the company will also incur severe late penalties and legal consequences, and will ultimately be struck-off the Registrar for being in default of its obligations.

Every company (having or not having a share capital) shall lodge an annual return in the prescribed form with the Registrar, within one month after the annual general meeting. The annual return shall be made up to the date of the annual general meeting or a date within the 14 days after the annual general meeting.

An annual general meeting shall be held once every calendar year and not more than 15 months after the holding of the last annual general meeting.

 

The directors of every company shall, at some date not later than 18 months after the incorporation of the company and subsequently once at least in every calendar year at intervals not more than 15 months, lay before the company at its annual general meeting a profit and loss account and a balance sheet for the period since the proceeding account, or in the case of the first account, since the incorporation of the company. The account should be made up to a date not more than 6 months before the date of the annual general meeting.

Seychelles’s geographic location, convenient time zone, political and economic stability, common law legal system,
educated, competent and accessible professionals, English speaking work force, up-to-date modern electronic com-
munications and tax advantages makes doing business in Seychelles easy, convenient, affordable and professional.
These attributes of Seychelles provide the perfect balance, as it relates to confidence, integrity and reliability in Sey-

chelles’s dynamic offshore service sector. That is why Seychelles is often at the top of the list to start a new business

 

 

 

GENERAL  OVERVIEW

Location Indian Ocean.

Time zone GMT + 4 hours.

Population 87,972

Capital Victoria.

Airport(s) Seychelles International Airport.

Language English, French, Creole.

Currency Seychelles Rupee.

Political system Seychelles is an independent Republic, a multi-party democracy and a member of the Common-

wealth, very stable.

International dialling code +248.

Legal system Hybrid modelled on English and French law, with ‘offshore’ laws heavily statute and Common Law

based.

Centre’s expertise The tax exempt International Business Company (IBC) and the low-tax resident Companies Spe-

cial Licences (CSL).

TAX

Personal income tax Exempt.

Corporate income tax IBC: Exempt. CSL: 1.5% of worldwide taxable income.

Exchange restrictions IBC: Exempt. CSL: Exempt.

Tax treaties China, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Mauritius, Botswana, Oman, Vietnam, Cyprus,

UAE, Barbados.

SHARE   CAPITAL

Permitted currencies IBC & CSL: All major convertible currencies.

Minimum authorised capital IBC: US $1. CSL: Standard US $100.

Minimum share issue IBC: US $1. CSL: Minimum 10% of authorised capital.

TYPE   OF   ENTITY

Shelf companies IBC: Yes. CSL: No.

Timescale for new entities IBC: Same day / next day. CSL: 1 - 2 weeks.

Incorporation fees IBC: US $100 irrespective of the authorised Share Capital.

CSL: US $200 application fee and US $1000 annual license fee.

Annual fees Refer above.

DIRECTORS

Minimum number IBC: One. CSL: Two.

Residency requirements IBC: No. CSL No.

Corporate directors IBC: Yes. CSL: No.

Meetings/frequency IBC: worldwide and no minimum. CSL: worldwide and at least one.

SHAREHOLDERS

Disclosure IBC: No filing. CSL: Details filed with the Registrar but not open for public inspection.

Bearer shares IBC: permitted. CSL: not permitted.

Minimum number IBC: One. CSL: Two.

Public share registry IBC: No. CSL: No.

Meetings / frequency IBC: worldwide (no AGM requirement). CSL: worldwide (Annual AGM).

ACCOUNTS

Annual return IBC: No. CSL: Yes.

Audit requirements IBC: No. CSL: Yes.

OTHER

Registered office IBC: In Seychelles. CSL: In Seychelles.

Domicile issues IBC: Tax non-resident. CSL: Tax resident.

Company naming restrictions In line with global norms, prohibited words include, for example, 'Bank', 'Building Society', and the

Registry has discretion to reject names that are indecent, offensive or misleading, etc.

 

 

Seychelles Companies

First Half Year Companies (incorporated between January and June):

•       Licence due - working day before dated of incorporation

•       10% penalty - $10.75 - date of incorporation

•       50% penalty - $53.75 - 90 days after the due date

•       Struck off - 31st of December the same year

 

Second   Half Year Companies (incorporated between July and December):

•       Licence due - working day before dated of incorporation

•       10% penalty - $10.75 - date of incorporation

•       50% penalty - $53.75 - 90 days after the due date

•       Struck off - 31st of December the following year