Seychelles Struggles to Pay Wages as Covid-19 Hits Tourism

Seychelles is struggling to pay state workers as the government faces a revenue shortfall triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Treasury ran out of cash this month as tourists, the nation’s main source of income, stayed away because of the Covid-19 disease. The slump in arrivals forced the government to borrow 500 million Seychellois rupees ($23.6 million) from the central bank to cover immediate expenses, according to Finance minister Naadir Hassan.

“If the finance ministry does not take measures to raise funds, we will not have money to pay wages for the next quarter,” Hassan told reporters in Victoria, the capital, on Wednesday. The Treasury is working “on some avenues” to enable the government to meet all of its obligations in the first quarter, he said, without providing further details.

Preliminary estimates show that government expenses for the year will amount to 12 billion rupees. Revenue in 2021 is forecast at 7.5 billion rupees, leaving the Treasury with a shortfall of 4.5 billion rupees, Hassan said.

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