The Japanese government, on Thursday, provided Maldives with a grant of MVR 68,750,000 as grant aid to strengthen border control and counterterrorism efforts in the country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid and Japanese Ambassador to Maldives Yanai Keiko, signed the Exchange of Notes concerning the grant following a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As part of Japanese aid for the socioeconomic development of Maldives, the funds to strengthen border control and counterterrorism efforts was granted to Maldives Immigration and Maldives Customs Services. Facial recognition systems, mobile x-rays, counterfeit bill detectors, special luminescent microscopes, speedboats and vehicles will be procured for both state institutions under the grant.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Shahid expressed gratitude to the Japanese government, acknowledging the grant as another gesture of Japan’s goodwill and generosity to Maldives.
Highlighting the discussion of expanding bilateral cooperation into areas such as counterterrorism and border security during President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s state trip to Japan in October 2019, the foreign minister stated that the facilitation of the grant was an important outcome of deliberations.
The Japanese Ambassador noted that the grant assistance was intended to strengthen the capacity of Maldives Immigration and Maldives Customs Service to ensure border control and operational readiness. She asserted the importance of secure maritime, land and air borders as well as coordination among relevant agencies, especially considering the geographical dispersion of islands in Maldives.
The Japanese government expressed hope that the grant assistance would contribute to Maldives' social and economic development, by enhancing public safety and security.
Furthermore, discussions are currently going on between the Maldives and Japan concerning a project to increase the capacity of Maldivian health service providers amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Earlier in May, Japan provided a grant of MVR 5,346,600 (USD 356,400) for UNICEF Maldives and 2,775,000 (USD 185,000) for Maldives Red Crescent to assist the Maldivian government's COVID-19 response efforts. Japan has also committed a grant of MVR 21.7 million (USD 1.4 million) to UNDP Maldives to support small and medium enterprises (SME’s) affected by the onging pandemic.