Malé, Maldives – Maldives Monetary Authority has revealed that a total of USD 92.9 million (MVR 1.43 billion) was sent out of Maldives as outward remittance.
The Maldives Monetary Authority’s (MMA) 2020 Q4 quarterly economic bulletin revealed that this was an increase of 24% or USD 17.7 million compared with 2019.
MMA also reported that the overall increase in outward remittance in 2020 was likely due to the portion of funds previously being remitted through the informal system re-entering the formal system following the abolishment of the Remittance Tax and also because informal mechanisms to send out the money was not available due to the continuing challenges in international movement due to Covid-19.
According to MMA the outward remittances by foreigners amounted to 67% of total outward remittances during the fourth quarter of 2020, which was an increase from the 31% noted in the same quarter of the previous year. MMA also reported that Bangladesh was the most prominent outward remittance destination, representing 44% of total outward remittances, followed by 19% to India.
To tackle the issue of USD being taken out of the country during the pandemic, major banks in Maldives, such as Bank of Maldives (BML) and State Bank of India (SBI) had limited USD usage from their cards to limit the amount of USD being used abroad.
While SBI decreased the amount of USD that can be used from the bank’s cards in foreign countries and which can be withdrawn from ATMs and POS using the SBI card to USD 100 per month, BML limited the amount of dollars its customers can use in a month to USD 250.
MMA took various precautionary measures in managing the flow of foreign currency in the country in 2020 as the tourism sector which main income source of foreign income was crippled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the USD rates had gone up to MVR 20 per USD in the black market as USD supply dropped last year, MMA had given reassuarance that there was enough USD in the reserves for essential needs.