Income via tourism will decrease with new amendments: MP Saeed

MP of Maavashu constituency Mohamed Saeed | Photo: Majlis

Male’, Maldives – MP for Maavashu constituency and former Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed has commented on the newly proposed amendments to the Tourism Act, saying that the amendments will decrease income earned by the sector, as opposed to the intended outcome of increasing revenue.

According to the amendments proposed by the state, which was put forward to the Parliament by the Parliamentary Group Leader and MP of Mid Henveiru constituency, Ali Azim, the price at which lands are leased for tourism purposes will major changes, resulting in prices decreasing as atolls are farther away from the central capital, Male’ City.

Pointing out this change, Saeed said that one of the largest secure income for the country is through tourism, specifically rent from lands which are leased to the industry. He went on to explain that if the proposed amendments are passed as is, the country would suddenly lose large income, which he specified as 137 million, however, failed to mention whether it would me in Maldivian Rufiyaa, or US Dollars.

He described the new amendments as “an artificial increment” acquired to the income, which is only to make it seem like income has been increased to the budget.

Now all MDP MPs are under the impression that the state will receive MVR 4 billion additionally. Honorable Speaker, what bigger miracle could there be?

– Mohamed Saeed, MP of Maavashu Constituency and Former Economic Minister

The bill was also criticized by MP Azim who sponsored the bill, saying that some aspects of the bill will hinder the benefits of the tourism sector for the country, specifically highlighting the fact that an additional company is to be formulated to partner with the Ministry of Tourism, as per the bill.

However, MP Azim proposed the bill to the Parliamentary floor as the bill would allow the government more income, once it get passed as a law. In response to this, Speaker Nasheed stated that the Budget Review Committee included the income to be generated when the bill gets passed, and that it is an aim to complete the work related to this as soon as possible.

The Finance Ministry of Maldives earlier proposed a state budget of MVR 34.7 billion for the year 2021. With expenses approximated to be MVR 33.3 billion, and income projected was at MVR 17.8 billion in financial aid and revenue, along with a large budget deficit, amounting to MVR 15.5 billion. However, on Tuesday, the Parliamentary Budget Committee passed the budget for 2021 at MVR 34.9 billion, after an increase of MVR 134 million.