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COVID-19: Council budget allocation to be revised

Ahmed Aiham
02 April 2020, MVT 22:15
Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer speaking at the nation-wide broadcasted press conference. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
02 April 2020, MVT 22:15

Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer on Wednesday, stated that budget allocations for councils will be restructured in order to mitigate financial repercussions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the nation-wide broadcasted press conference at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), Minister Ameer noted that Maldives had initially allocated five percent of the government's revenue to the councils.

He added that revisions will be proposed to the Parliament in the coming week.

The minister also estimated that the state deficit would reach MVR 12 billion, further iterating the need to source additional funds in response to the economical shortcomings due to the global pandemic.

Although the government initially projected an eight percent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Minister Ameer noted that the country now faces the possibility of reaching a negative 5.6 percent. As a result, Maldives could lose MVR 2.6 billion to MVR 6.9 billion in potential revenue to the government. He added that the tourism industry could record a loss within the range of 37 and 50 percent.

Earlier, the government vowed to reduce state spending by MVR 1 billion. In this regard, the government slashed the salaries of all political appointees and heads of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by 20 percent. The parliament followed suit, approving a 20 percent cut on the members’ salaries as well.

Maldives currently has 19 confirmed and six active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 13 recoveries. While there are two confirmed cases of Maldivians, no local to local transmissions have been recorded.

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 966,702 people and claimed over 49,290 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 203,535 people have recovered.