Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid confirmed that while the ministry spent MVR 2.8 million on travel during his first year in office, it successfully acquired a total of MVR 3.21 billion as foreign aid in the same period.
The ministry released the information after an individual lodged a request for information concerning Minister Shahid's trips from November 17, 2018, to November 17, 2019, and costs incurred.
Although a number of countries have extended free aid to the country, the main donors are India, US, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Japan. The total MVR 3.21 billion secured as foreign aid is not inclusive of loans.
Notably, loan assistance secured by Maldives in 2019 includes a USD 800 million (MVR 12.4 billion) credit line extended by the Indian government.
Overall, the foreign minister's travel expenses for his first year in office reach MVR 2,840,879.54. The figure includes MVR 194,590.40 spent on two diplomatic trips during 2018 as well as MVR 2,646,289.14 spent on 18 diplomatic trips undertaken from January 1, 2019, to November 17 2019.
The objectives of the aforementioned trips were to meet high-level representatives of other nations, attend high-level meetings of international organizations that Maldives holds membership in and accompany President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on certain state trips.