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Main opposition cautions to slow down airport tax plan

Aishath Mihna Nasih
24 November 2016, MVT 19:40
Passengers at INIA. PHOTO: Nishan Ali/Mihaaru
Aishath Mihna Nasih
24 November 2016, MVT 19:40

The opposition members of the parliament argue that Airport Development Charge (ADC) of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) should be taken after the completion of the INIA development projects, stating it should not be a sudden change.

Debating on the Bill presented by Gahdhoo MP Ahmed Rasheed, opposition members heavily criticized the bill, saying it would widen the gap between the poor and rich. However, members of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives spoke in favor of the bill, saying that if the amounts USD 37 from locals and USD 50 from foreigners are taken as ADC, the state would earn MVR 565.8 million next year.

Hinnavaru Constituency lawmaker of main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Ibrahim Mohamed Ismail said that in most parts of the world, ADC is taken after the project is completed and a certain period is given for the citizens. He also said that proper research needs to be done before taking such an amount as an ADC.

Lawmaker of Jumhoory Party, Faisal Naseem, said it is the nature of every government to maximize profit and make the best use of it. However, he urged to take such fees in a more appropriate and systematic mechanism. He added that as tourism is the leading sector of the Maldives economy, apposite cautiousness should be given while increasing ADC.

Religiously conservative Adhaalath Party’s member Anaara Naeem said that differing amounts should be allocated for the locals going abroad for medical reasons and holidays.

Ruling PPM’s lawmaker of Gemanafushi Constituency Jameel Usman said ADC is taken from neighbouring India as well as Sri Lanka. But he also questioned whether ADC should be taken from locals.

The bill currently includes locals and foreigners as well as passengers who transit in INIA. It only excludes persons having Diplomatic Immunity.

This bill has been currently accepted and sent for review with a majority of 53 votes in favour and 22 against.

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