China allows delay of some loan repayments

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Lizhong with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih | Photo: Presidents Office

Male’, Maldives – The President’s Office of Maldives has announced that the government of China has allowed the repayment of some loans taken by Maldives from China to be deferred to the upcoming year.

Detailing, Spokesperson of the President and the Chief Communications Strategist at the President’s Office, Ibrahim Hoodh stated that the deferment was allowed under the Group of Twenty (G20) Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which is an initiative by the World Bank, under which, G-20 countries committed to suspending debt services of low income countries, on official bilateral credits.

Under this initiative, China reduced the loan payment of Maldives from USD 100 million to USD 75 million. While the suspension is applicable to loans worth USD 600 million directly acquired by the government, Ambassador to the Maldives from China, Zhang Lizhong said in September that ongoing negotiations with China regarding repayment terms for the remaining loans were expected to yield promising results.

This deferment also comes after Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed said that China has not given any leniency to the Maldives in repaying the loans, even during the tough times the country is facing, while speaking on the occasion marking 2 years to the administration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

He added that a mighty and well off country like China insisting that a small country like Maldives, with a population of 400,000 people pay their dues to China during this time, “even after selling off our jewelry,” according to pre-Covid-19 terms is unfair, and requested the Chinese President to reconsider.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the country’s debt is projected to reach MVR 70.3 billion by the end of 2020 with this figure rising to MVR 82.8 billion by the end of 2021, while a total of MVR 37.5 billion out of this figure is expected to be external debt.