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Former government was unable to settle the dues to fishermen in spite of money printing: Shiyam

Shiyam questions why the former government was incapable of reimbursing the fishermen despite overdrawing large sums of money and highlighted that this administration had dispersed over MVR 522 million since their assumption of office.

Aishath Shuba Solih
25 February 2024, MVT 11:32
Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Resources, Ahmed Shiyam speaking at the ceremony in Ha. Ihavandhoo -- Photo: President's office
Aishath Shuba Solih
25 February 2024, MVT 11:32

Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Resources Ahmed Shiyam has stated that the former government was incapable of distributing the payments owed to the fishermen by the state in spite of printing large amounts of money during their tenure.

During a meeting held in Haa Alif Atoll Ihavandhoo within President Dr Mohamed Muizzu’s trip across the Bodu Thiladhunmathi atoll, Shiyam shared that the first action of the president after assuming office was to cease the printing of money on account of his observation that it was causing strains and struggles within the people’s everyday life.

The former government had overdrawn an amount of MVR 8.2 billion within the span of three years in order to arrange the state’s finances.

The people of Haa Alif Atoll Ihavandhoo welcoming the President Dr Mohamed Muizzu upon his arrival -- Photo: President Office

“Why were these payments [of the fishermen] still unsettled even after printing money?” Shiyam had questioned.

As stated by Shiyam, there were pending dues to fishermen amounting to over MVR 250 million when the new administration assumed office. Furthermore, he highlighted that since this government had assumed office, over MVR 522 million has been dispersed to the fishermen.

“I am stating that over MVR 522 million has been settled since November 17 which is inclusive of ice, oil and credit distributed to the fishermen. However, backlog is still there. This is because fishermen perform their duties every day,” he said.

From the ceremony held at Ha. Ihavandhoo -- Photo: President's office

Shiyam assured that this complication will be resolved and fishermen will begun being reimbursed for the fish caught 48 hours after weighing their catch at MIFCO, as pledged by the president.

Fishermen had commenced a protest in Gaafu Alif Atoll Kooddoo last week to demand their unsettled payments. This protest was ceased following the deliberations held between the fishermen and Fisheries Minister, Ahmed Shiyam following his visit to the island upon learning of the protest. During the deliberations that followed, they had agreed on a settlement to begin dispersing the payments amongst which one third of the full payment, MVR 100 million, was promised to be delivered before Monday this week. An amount of MVR 70 million of this amount has been delivered to the fishermen as of Thursday last week with the remaining set to be dispersed before the end of Monday.

The state had additionally assured that the full due owed to fishermen will be dispersed before the end of next month.