Open Letter Protest againt International Bazaar held in Seychelles

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Open Letter Protest againt International Bazaar held in Seychelles

Post  Sirop14 on Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:35 pm

Open Letter Protest againt International Bazaar held in Seychelles

As a local businessman I write to strongly register my protest against holding of international bazaars in Seychelles. Over the years this has been marketed here as International Expo. One such Expo, the Biggest International Xmas Expo, promoted by RAJASTHAN WORKS, and organised this time under the banner of Indo-Seychellois Association, will take place this coming weekend at the NSC Hall. It is I think, the 3rd such bazaar event this year coming barely two months after the last one was held at the same venue. Not only are these being done at a greater frequency but they are getting bigger as well, both in terms of international participants but also in the variety of goods they are offering for sale. The marketing, we note, is also becoming more aggressive both on the air, in newspapers and on banners across the island. There is obviously good business to be done in Seychelles, a lucrative market indeed for some. But good business for whom? Lucrative for whom? Who are benefiting? In my view, certainly not the Seychelles economy, and certainly not the small business community in particular, not the sole traders, not the craftsmen, not Senpa. We need to see these International Expos for what they really are.
That we have allowed these exhibitions, this bazaar, driven by international businessmen, to grow in this manner, unchecked, and sadly, supported and facilitated by some of our own, is scandalous, to say the least. The hard working, tax paying, Seychelles based and licensed businesses, are paying a high price and no one seems to care. How many more exhibitions do we allow to happen here before we realise that this is squarely at the expense of local traders?
Seychelles is a small market and by any stretch of the imagination, we are not a wealthy country. Doing business here is not easy and some would say, never will be. Challenges are many - high expenses, bureaucracy, labour shortage - the list is long. At the very least we need a supportive business environment. Allowing international businessmen from some 13 mightier countries to come here at will and compete with us is not a supportive environment for local businesses, it is neither fair competition, it is a case of mighty trampling on the small and the vulnerable. The business model for them is too easy. They only need a local facilitator (for a few times in the past this has been our own SCCI!) and then the deal is on! They pack their containers, dump their products and after 4 to 5 days of exhibition, the participants are off with their profits and get themselves ready to start planning for the next exhibition. Let us not kid ourselves, they have absolutely no commitment to Seychelles whatsoever. Their commitment is to keep doing better for their pockets next time round. It is especially sad to see that they have chosen to do their exhibition around the Christmas season. They have appropriately named it the Biggest International Xmas Expo. This will hit the local businesses, especially the more vulnerable sole traders, even harder. Most would have spent a whole year planning and preparing for that special part of the season to do some much needed business. Not so again this year. Last year it was the election period (couldn’t do anything about it), this year it is the International Xmas Bazaar by businessmen from outside our country.
My hope, as a committed local businessman, is that the authorities take a closer look at what is happening and do something about it. If they can’t then we should know why. Either way we will at least have the certainty as to what to expect in doing business in our country. Then we will decide whether it is really worth it or not.

Frank Hoareau
Au Cap


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