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Government allocates MVR 350 million for SMEs

Fathmath Shaahunaz
25 August 2019, MVT 17:41
Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer (R) speaks at the budget committee meeting regarding the government's proposal to extend the state budget, on August 25, 2019. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
25 August 2019, MVT 17:41

The government revealed Sunday that MVR 350 million, of the MVR 1.7 billion to be added to the state budget, is allocated as capital for small and medium enterprises (SME).

Speaking at the budget committee meeting, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer declared that the government made the decision in order to advance the SME sector, develop small businesses, and increase the role of SMEs in strengthening the Maldivian economy.

According to Ameer, the newly proposed budget extension allocates MVR 189.4 million as subsidies for state-owned enterprises, of which MVR 130 million is set aside for Male' Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC).

"This amount was decided under the agreement struck between MWSC and the previous administration", the minister revealed.

He noted that the current government was working to improve the liquidity of MWSC.

The newly proposed budget includes MVR 35 million to reduce the transportation rates of Island Aviation Services, and MVR 24.4 million to slash electricity rates.

It further allocates MVR 225 million to the contingency budget, bringing the number from the originally approved MVR 411 million to MVR 636 million.

Minister Ameer went on to reveal that the government will settle the remaining budget expenses through foreign aid, including MVR 716.8 million to be granted by Saudi Arabia, and MVR 100 million to be granted by India. He added that another MVR 700 million from the generated state revenue will be used to manage the rest of the expenditures.

Ameer asserted that the government submitted the budget extension in order to fulfil its vows to the people and improve their standards of living.

He also criticised the previous administration, claiming that its negligence resulted in high expenditures for the education and health sectors.

The state budget for 2019 would increase to MVR 31.9 billion should the parliament approve the government's proposal, while the overall deficit would increase to MVR 4.9 billion.

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