Relief loans vital in maintaining the economy: Finance Minister Ameer

Finance Minister of Maldives, Ibrahim Ameer speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the procurement guidelines and job classification framework for State-owned enterprises. | Photo: Finance Ministry

Malé, Maldives – Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer on Wednesday, said that he is extremely pleased over how relief loans were given out to businesses effected by Covid-19 and that the economy would have worsened if it not were for the loans.

Giving an interview to local media, Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer said that Covid-19 relief loans were given to small and middle class businesses in an appropriate manner. He added that they estimate the economy to have reduced by 29 percent due to the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that it would have worsened if not for their intervention.

Minister Ameer also said that the tourism industry was not prioritised when loans were given out and that loans were given to construction and retail businesses as well.

Along with this, Minister Ameer said that they were looking for the most convenient way when giving out aid and that EIB loans were given at 6 percent interest، to be paid back within 4 years. He added that they expect these businesses receiving the working capital loans to make use of it to further expand their businesses and contribute to the economy.

The government gave out loans to businesses in the tourism industry as well as businesses making over MVR 10 million annually, in addition to small businesses and entrepreneurs. As of now, 2,100 SMEs have been given MVR 360 million while 400 major businesses were given MVR 585 million.

In addition to the businesses, the government also gave out income support allowances to those who fave pay deductions and those who lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. MVR 420 million was given out to 22,000 people under this scheme. Along with this, discounts were given on electricity and water bills as well.