Can’t afford China’s debt even if our grandmother’s jewelry are sold: Nasheed

Former President and current Speaker of the Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed | Photo: Mihaaru

Malé, Maldives — The former President of Maldives and the current Speaker of the Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed says that Maldives will not be able to repay the debt owed to China even if the jewelry of our grandmothers are sold.

Nasheed tweeted today saying that Maldives will not be able to repay the “unaffordable” debt they owe to China.

In his tweet, he attached the picture of a traditional Maldivian necklace called fattaru-bai (golden necklace) and said that even if we sell our grandmother’s jewelry, it won’t be enough to repay the debt we owe to China.

Nasheed stated in the tweet that 53% of the revenue expected to be received by the government in 2021 will be used to pay the debts Maldives owes. Nasheed also mentioned that the island nation is required to pay over 80% of these debts to China.

On the day President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih celebrated two years of presidency, Nasheed spoke about the debts the previous government had put on to Maldives. He said that the previous government had continued to take loans, without any thought and that the country is now facing the consequences for those inconsiderate actions.

According to Nasheed, the country is due to pay USD 83 million to China before the year 2020 ends. He further noted that despite the tough times the country, and the world is facing, China is still not willing to give any ease on the millions in debt the country owes.

He noted that it is not appropriate for China to ask for the repayments while the citizens of Maldives are facing such a vulnerable time.

The tweet from Nasheed comes after the Parliament had a discussion about the budget the Finance Ministry has proposed for the year 2021. While the ministry proposed the state budget as MVR 34.7 Billion for the upcoming year, several members, including the members from the incumbent MDP party has widely criticized the proposed budget.

Speaker Nasheed noted that he also agrees that the proposed budget for the upcoming year is not good at all. However, Nasheed said that the previous government is to be blamed for this as it is the consequence of their actions and not of the incumbent government.

The Finance Minister of Maldives, Ibrahim Ameer informed during a Parliament meeting that the Maldivian debt is estimated to be MVR 82.8 billion at the end 2021. He said that although the government is doing everything they can to speed up the recovery of Maldives’ economy, a side effect of the current attempts at economic management is an increase in debt.

The lates National Debt Report complied by the parliament showed that the national debt of Maldives has added up to a whopping MVR 172 billion.