Record Profits For SOEs, Electronic Money, Price Controls For Medicine

Thursday, January 27

The State Trading Organisation (STO) posted a record annual revenue of MVR10 billion (US$648.5 million) for 2021. Net profit before tax was up 32 percent from the previous year at MVR571 million.

The state-owned behemoth is the country’s primary wholesaler, responsible for importing the vast majority of basic foodstuffs such as rice, flour, and sugar. STO subsidiaries also trade in petroleum, cooking gas, construction materials, medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, electronics, supermarket products and insurance.

Thursday, January 27

The Bank of Maldives reported its “best-ever performance” in 2021 with a record profit after tax of MVR1.7 billion (US$110 million). Total assets increased by almost MVR7.6 billion and customer deposits grew by MVR5.3 billion.

“Our loan book quality remained robust and the non-performing loan ratio saw further improvement at 2.5%. We continued to lend to individuals and businesses during the year with over MVR3.3 billion in new lending,” said CEO and Managing Director Tim Sawyer.

Businesses in all sectors except for construction reported an expansion in activity in Q4-2021, according to the central bank’s quarterly business survey.

Wednesday, January 26

The finance ministry invited bids for the construction of new hospitals under contractor finance on the islands of Haa Alif Ihavandhoo, Noonu Kendhikulhudhoo and Lhaviyani Hinnavaru.

Wednesday, January 26

Tuesday, January 25

Two atoll councils announced the lease of uninhabited islands under their jurisdiction. The Gaaf Dhaalu Atoll Council decided to rent out five islands under the care of the Rathafandhoo Island Council for one year. The Alif Dhaalu Atoll Council called for parties interested in operating two picnic islands on a 20-year lease.

Hurasdhoo picnic island in Alif Dhaalu Atoll

Tuesday, January 25

Monday, January 24

Introducing a maximum retail price for medicines was pushed back. Regulations enacted last year to limit the sale price of essential medicines up to 100 percent of cost price were amended to come into force in March instead of January. Price controls for non-essential medicines take effect as planned in July

Monday, January 24

The Maldives Monetary Authority issued the first payment service provider licenses under the new national payment system law to local telcos Dhiraagu and Ooredoo to provide electronic money issuance services. Ooredoo was also authorised to provide remittance services.

The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) announced the best financial year in the state-owned company’s 41-year history with a record after tax profit of MVR224 million (US$14.5 million) in 2021.

MTCC carried out numerous infrastructure projects across the country, including land reclamation, harbour development, road construction and shore protection. This week, the company was enlisted to develop regional ports in southern and northern hubs. An ‘Integrated National Public Ferry Network’ is also in the pipeline.

Sunday, January 23

The Islamic ministry signed an agreement with SJ Construction to build a 3,000-capacity mosque in Hulhumalé. An out-of-court settlement was reached with the local company to end legal wrangling over the cancellation of a 2018 contract for a 10-storey mosque in Malé, a project that was mired in a conflict over the land registry. The company sued for compensation and the state counter-sued to recover MVR30 million (US$1.9 million) released as equity by the previous government. In the settlement, SJ agreed to bear the additional cost of the MVR35 million Hulhumalé mosque as corporate social responsibility.

Design concept for the Hulhumalé mosque

Sunday, January 23