Malé, Maldives — Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail has said that individuals working at home, or home based workers are also required to pay business taxes.
Covid-19 has seen many home cooks starting takeout businesses from home, which has affected registered cafe’s and restaurants. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) recently imposed a ban home-based food micro-businesses unless they register, for which the public accused the Restaurant Association of Maldives (RAM) in influencing this decision, resulting in RAM receiving massive backlash.
HPA later stated that the implementation was intended to address health and safety concerns, after they received numerous complaints of unregistered food and beverage services conducting deliveries and advertising through online platforms.
Last week , speaking on a tv program, Minster Fayyaz said that cafe’s and restaurant owners are discontented with the fact that while they spend large sums of money on rent, tax and employee salaries, home cooks are not burdened with the same expenses.
However, like the majority of the public believes, Fayyaz said that starting a business is a voluntary decision and that rent payments are not a valid complaint as the mode of business was chosen by the business owners.
Speaking on the HPA’s decision, Fayyaz said, “the average citizen is buying food cooked at home kitchens, and the HPA needs to guarantee the average citizens good health. And so they need confirm whether the place of production which is distributing food for the public is following some basic guidelines, such as cleanliness, for example, is the stove in a bathroom ? how can we know?”
On that note, Fayyaz explained that HPA did not make the decision from a business perspective, but rather due to the current pandemic and in an attempt to control it’s spread. However, he further added that the decision did not come at a good time.
However, the Ministry of Economic Development has previously clarified that home-based workers or self-employed individuals are exempt from being registered as a business.