Maldives government on Thursday revised its current policy on staple food subsidy to limit it to just the needy.
Deputy economic minister Adam Thaufeeg confirmed the revised policy and said the subsidy would now be made available to the needy through the national social protection agency with effect from next month.
"We will now limit the subsidy to only the vulnerable people. Through NSPA we will make a monthly cash transfer to those who need the subsidy," Thaufeeg explained.
The change would lead to a significant hike in prices for rice, flour and sugar in the archipelago.
Thaufeeg said the government currently spends MVR300 million every month on the subsidy. However, almost 60 percent of it is used up by expatriate workers who make a significant portion of the population.
On Friday, hundreds queued up at retail shops to stock up on rice, flour and sugar as the subsidy would be lifted from Saturday.