Taxpayer Disclosure, Speedboat Ferries, Digital Finance

Thursday, September 15

Speaking at the annual GM Forum for resort management, ‘Bandhu’ Ibrahim Saleem, founder of the Cyprea travel agency, criticised the central bank for not formulating regulations for the introduction of digital finance or cryptocurrencies.

Countries such as India, Singapore, and Malaysia are regulating the use of cryptocurrencies, said Saleem, who has also managed state-owned enterprises.

“Customers must have a choice in payment, we cannot dictate their choice,” he said.

Photo from Hotelier Maldives

Thursday, September 15

The state-owned Maldives Transport Contracting Company contracted Al Shaali Marine Maldives to manufacture and supply 65 speedboat ferries for the government’s ‘Integrated National Public Ferry Network Project.’ The reported cost of the two-year contract was MVR537 million (US$34.8 million).

“The ferries will be designed with 50 comfortable seating arrangement and air-conditioned cabin along with special arrangements to cater people with special needs (PWD),” according to MTCC.

The purpose-built speedboats will be used for phases two and three of Raajje Transport Link’s nationwide network. The ferry service is currently under operation in the three northernmost atolls – which is considered zone one – under phase one of the project. The remaining 17 atolls are grouped into five more zones. Once the project is complete, all inhabited islands will be connected through a “reliable and convenient RTL ferry network”.

Routes are designed for a commuter link to connect nearby islands, a non-commuter link for longer trips to domestic airports and business hubs, and a highway link to connect regional hubs. Customers can book and pay for tickets on the RTL website or app. 

The Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company opened a new outlet near the Hiya flats in Hulhumalé phase two.

All of MIFCO’s canned, frozen and packaged fish products will be available at the store.

Tuesday, September 13

The names of companies that did not submit tax returns or pay goods and services tax, green tax and withholding tax for the period that ended on 31 December 2021 will be made public during this month, the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority announced. A list will be published at MIRA’s service centre and website.

Companies and individuals who failed to pay the new income tax will also be named in October, MIRA noted.

The “naming-and-shaming” is the first stage of the tax authority’s enforcement policy, which also involves publishing a list of non-compliant companies in the government gazette and filing lawsuits to recover dues.

MIRA’s second quarter report revealed that the state is owed MVR15 billion (US$972 million) in unpaid taxes, rent and fines. Unpaid land rent for resorts and tourism sales tax account for the bulk of the arrears. 

It emerged in May that 12 resorts owed a combined MVR665 million in unpaid land rent. Action under the second stage of the policy has been deferred for the resorts to seek a negotiated settlement with the tourism ministry, it was reported in August.

Tuesday, September 13

Monday, September 12

National carrier Maldivian has decided not to renew the lease of its A321 aircraft citing high maintenance costs. The lease expires in May next year.

The aircraft is 17-years-old and competitors are using newer planes, Deputy Managing Director Aishath Jennifer told the press, stressing that flight operations will not be disrupted. Three ATR aircraft and a new airbus plane will arrive in the coming months, she added.

Monday, September 12

The Bank of Maldives announced three recipients of its Housing Grant, which offered funding to build and furnish houses for three vulnerable families across the country. Winning proposals were chosen after “a comprehensive evaluation process” from applications submitted by local councils and NGOs. 

The housing grant is among 12 high-impact monthly community initiatives to celebrate the Bank’s 40th anniversary in November.

Sunday, September 11

The civil court ordered restaurant operator Strada to pay MVR1.7 million (US$110,246) owed to the State Trading Organisation as rent for a block leased from the Aifan building in Malé’s northern waterfront. The outstanding rent was owed from February 2020.

Photo from Gedor Consulting

Sunday, September 11

Saturday, September 10

Villa Air signed an agreement with freight forwarding specialist Redbox to distribute general cargo and express items across the airline’s domestic route network.

“This partnership means that customers can expect quick and reliable transportation of goods to and from Alif Dhaal Atoll, Baa Atoll, and South Raa Atoll,” according to Villa Air. 

On the same day, Villa also signed a travel partnership agreement with the government health insurance company Aasandha to “assist in transporting Aasandha clients through Villa Air’s domestic route networks.”

Saturday, September 10