The Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA) was set up in September 1984 with the mandate to process and grant licenses for most business activities. It fell under the responsibility of the then Ministry of Defence.
From its small office next to the People’s Stadium and a small contingent of less than 10 staff members, the Seychelles Licensing Authority is now situated on 3 floors of the Orion Mall, and employs over 55 persons. The role of SLA has evolved over the years in line with the political and economic reforms which have taken place in the country. There was a remarkable increase in licensed businesses following the introduction of the multi-party system in 1992 when investor confidence was boosted and more so after the economic reform when many sectors of the economy were liberalised and the foreign exchange shortage was eradicated.
Following the economic reform program of the Seychelles Government which started in 2008 and the opening up of the economy to the private sector, it became clear that the Government needed to amend certain laws to streamline procedures, reduce bureaucracy and facilitate business start up and encourage entrepreneurship. A new, modern Licences Act came into force in November 2010. This was considered as another vital and important step in the Government’s endeavour to improve the business climate in Seychelles.
The objectives of the new Licences Act are to ensure the protection of public health and safety, environmental protection and national security. The Act also ensures transparency and guards against constant changing of the business environment. In the Act the activities which are licensable are listed for the information of potential and existing businesses. In this context transparent procedures are clearly spelt out for the issuing and renewal of licenses. The Licences Act also makes provision for the setting up of an Appeals Board to hear and determine appeals against the decisions of the Authority.
Another step taken by the government in its attempt to facilitate business start-up was to remove certain bureaucratic procedures which were in place at the time. The approval by the Seychelles Investment Board for all projects was abolished and now applicants for licenses have to apply directly to the SLA for their license, and in accordance with the provisions of the new Act, a license application must be dealt with within 14 days by SLA.
Presently, most licenses which do not require inspections by other agencies before being granted are approved within 48 to 72 hours as long as applicants meet all necessary requirements.