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State has spent MVR 4 billion in the past three years over subsidies

Lamya Abdulla
27 October 2022, MVT 13:18
(FILE) Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer at a press conference held on July 5, 2022: in a written reply the Finance Ministry had provided details regarding state subsidy expenditure over the past three years to the parliament -- Photo: Finance Ministry
Lamya Abdulla
27 October 2022, MVT 13:18

Finance Ministry has stated that the government has spent MVR 4.1 billion in the past three years over subsidies.

Minister Ibrahim Ameer had provided details in a written reply regarding to the enquiry made by MP member for Central Maafannu constituency Ibrahim Rasheed regarding the amount the state budget had spent on subsidies in the past three years.

In 2021, the Maldives had spent MVR 1.5 billion from the state budget. MVR 1.01 billion was spent to ensure food, water, and electricity was available at an affordable rate. MVR 99 million had been spent on subsidies while MVR 460 million was spent on fuel subsidies. Government had also spent MVR 20 million to operate pre-schools.

In 2019, the state had spent a total of MVR 1.3 billion in subsidies while MVR 1.2 was spent in 2020.

Concerning a question asked by the MP on fishermen's fuel expenditure, the Finance Ministry's reply said that MVR 1.3 million was spent for that cause in 2021. The same amount was spent in 2020 for this cause as well, while the state had spent MVR 167,280 in 2019 to provide fuel for fishing vessels.

According to the Finance Ministry, except for 0.1 percent of the government's food subsidy, the rest is paid as indirect food subsidies to the food and goods provider. This subsidy is therefore applicable to everyone rather than those in poverty.

In addition to the poor, expatriates, businesses and the wealthy also benefit from this subsidy as well as the tourists. The subsidies granted for businesses are given equally to all that qualify for it.

According to the Finance Ministry, food subsidies for the poor are provided by National Social Protection Agency (NSPA). Applications will be processed whether the applicant's family's monthly earnings are under Maldives' poverty line.