Austerity Measures, Aeroflot Flights, MSS Chrome

Thursday, June 9

The Maldives Tourism Development Corporation approved a dividend payout of MVR28 million (US$1.8 million) at MVR0.60 per share.

The company paid dividends in 2021 for the first time in 11 years. Profit was up more than 300% last year with a net profit of US$13.7 million. Its main income source at present is rent from subleased resorts.

Earlier this year, MTDC purchased a plot from Hulhumalé to build a new corporate office.

Thursday, June 9

The tax authority collected MVR1.28 billion (US$83 million) in May, up 63% from the same period last year. Revenue from tourism-related taxes as well as sales taxes and non-resident withholding tax was higher than forecast.

Wednesday, June 8

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced that new projects will be put on hold in light of rising oil and commodity prices and the risk of a global economic downturn. The government expects a fourfold increase in fuel subsidies and an MVR2 billion (US$129 million) shortfall in plugging an MVR9.9 billion fiscal deficit.

But the Maldives is not in any danger of reserve depletion or a sovereign default, the president assured, defending loans taken to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 as the economy lost MVR70 billion and debt reached 150% of GDP.

Ongoing projects for which financing has been secured will continue and the Maldives will not face a shortage of staple food, fuel and medicine, he said. Tourist arrivals are up, revenue from January to May has been MVR3 billion higher than forecast, and GDP growth is projected at 13%.

The government hopes to build up the Sovereign Development Fund to repay US$600 million due in 2026  

Wednesday, June 8

Russian national carrier Aeroflot increased flights from three to six days a week. More tourists from the top market will benefit guesthouses the most, Tourism Minister Dr Abdulla Mausoom told the media.

Tuesday, June 7

The Maldives repaid US$58.03 million of a debut US$250 million Eurobond issued to the international debt capital market in June 2017.

“As part of its proactive approach in managing debt, the government refinanced US$191.97 million of the US$250 million in April 2021 through a market friendly ‘any-and-all’ tender offer from the proceeds of the debut international Sukuk,” the finance ministry said.

Tuesday, June 7

President Solih opened the first Astrabon Expo at the Manhattan Business Hotel in Malé, offering a “360-degree view of resort supplies and F&B products, including high-class finery in kitchenware, laundry equipment and household appliances.”

About 11,000 people registered for Vinares apartment viewings, a Housing Development Corporation media official told the press.

The housing project is expected to be completed in July. A portion of the 1,344 flats in ten 13-storey towers is reserved for residents of Malé. Prices range between MVR2.52 million (US$163,400) to MVR2.59 million with 20- and 25-year payment options.

The Maldives State Shipping’s new bulk carrier MSS Chrome – the largest vessel ever registered under the Maldivian flag – was greeted with a water salute upon arrival at the Malé port.

A subsidiary of the State Trading Organisation, MSS began operations in 2020. Its first ship, MSS Galena, began carrying goods from Colombo last year.

Sunday, June 5

Foreign currency reserves will return to pre-Covid levels by the end of the year and the Maldives faces no short-term difficulty in repaying debt, according to Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer. “False” claims of reserve depletion or an impending debt crisis could cause economic anxiety and adversely affect markets, he warned.

A US$175 million trade financing facility has been secured to minimise the reserve impact, he added.

“State income has improved but expenditure has tightened. The government’s policy is to finance the budget by restructuring spending without disrupting services,” Ameer tweeted.

Sunday, June 5