USD 520 million received as Covid-19 financing

Minister of Finance, Ibrahim Ameer speaks during a press conference on December 3, 2018. | Fayaz Moosa

Male’, Maldives – Minister of Finance, Ibrahim Ameer has stated that the governemnt has received a total of USD 520 million as Covid-19 financing through aid and loans from different donors as of the end of last month.

Finance Ministry has said that as the governments revenues have gone down below the expected and would be much lower compared to the budget which had been approved for this year. Adding on to this they said that since the national budget deficit may be higher than the approved amount the financial requirements need to be increased and as a means to that international financial institutions and bilateral partners had provided the financial assistance.

The records released by the ministry show that the highest donor so far has been India with the USD 250 million which has been given as budget support through a Domestic Treasury Bond given through State Bank of India (SBI). Asian Development Bank (ADB) gave a total of USD 52.3 million our of which USD 27.3 million has been given as grant and technical assistance support while the remaining amount has been given as a loan to support the implementation of the government’s COVID-19 health response measures for setting-up and scaling-up testing and treatment facilities and capacity.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has given a total of USD 47.5 million until now and the funds ate to be used to mitigate the negative social and economic impact of the pandemic through concessional financing to implement the economic policy and expansion of the social welfare for the vulnerable population, thereby contributing to promoting the country’s socio-economic stabilization and development efforts of the country.

The other donors include Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ( USD 7.3 million loan), European Investment Bank (USD 22.6 million loan), International Finance Corporation (USD 20 million loan), International Fund for Agriculture Development (USD 4.5 million – 27% Grant, 73% Loan), International Monetary Fund (USD 28.9 million interest free loan), Islamic Development Bank (USD 35.7 million grant and loan), OPEC Fund for International Development (USD 20 million loan) and World Bank (USD 31.1 million – 51.6% grant, 48.4% loan).

In addition to this numeruos bilateral partners countries and UN Agencies have donated PPE’s, food aid and medical aid until the end of last month. Some of these include Bangladesh, China, Canada, European Union, Malaysia, Korea, UNICEF, UNDP and USA.

According to the national statistics the economy of Maldives has contracted by 51.6 percent this year and the national debt is expected to go up to MVR 12 billion by the end of the year. Finance Minister has told before that the government is doing as much as possible to reduce expenditure of the government and to manage the national debt. The government has also been working on getting moratorium for the foreign loans taken previously for various developmental projects.