President Ibrahim Solih addressed the nation and the concerns of the citizens regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects upon the nation. The President’s speech addressed many concerns which have been shared by citizens and enterprises operating in the Maldives
The President highlighted his concerns on the huge economic losses and the sustained impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the domestic economy and businesses in the Maldives. Addressing these concerns, the President informed the public that a MVR 2.5 billion stimulus package has been approved, and shall be dispensed via SDFC and BML
Among other initiatives towards providing financial relief and aid to businesses, the President informed that the Bank of Maldives (BML) – the National bank of Maldives – had issued a decision deferring loan repayment periods for all outstanding loans of the bank, by 6 months. This is in addition to the MVR 308 million earmarked by the Bank as new loans to be issued to businesses.
SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) would also be deferring loan repayment for SME’s and Agricultural enterprises, for a period of 6 months from March onwards, and All interest payments with respect to the 6 month period would be reduced by 4%, said the President. This initiative is in addition to new loans to be issued by the government under SDFC in the near future.
Towards assisting Yellowfin tuna fisheries, a special assistance package has been prepared, and loans are being issued to assist yellowfin tuna exporters. The President also highlighted initiatives to assist the agricultural industry and farmers, as the holy month of Ramazan is within a months time. He spoke of establishing a trading platform, via State Trading Organization, so that farmers produce would reach consumers in a timely manner.
Addressing the nation, President Solih presented additional measures to be taken by his administration. Among these measures, the Maldives will temporarily suspend the issuance of on-arrival visas to tourists. This measure is set to take effect from 27 March onwards. Further, resort employees will remain on their respective resort island for 14 days, beginning from the date on which the last tourist departure from that resort. After expiry of the 14 day period, those employees will be permitted to travel to their desired destination.
The President also informed the public of his decision to keep shut, public offices, schools, universities and colleges for an additional week from Sunday, 29 March.
(Photo credit: President’s Office)