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USD40 mln in six months from tourism island lease: MP Nihan

Fathmath Shaahunaz
22 June 2016, MVT 12:35
Villi-Maafannu MP Ahmed Nihan speaks during the parliament sitting on Monday. PHOTO/PARLIAMENT SECRETARIAT
Fathmath Shaahunaz
22 June 2016, MVT 12:35

The state has received a revenue of USD 40 million via leasing of uninhabited islands for tourism within a period of six months, announced Villimaafannu MP Ahmed Nihan on Tuesday.

Speaking at the parliamentary debate over the government’s amendment to the Maldives Tourism Act to authorise leasing of islands for tourism bypassing the bidding process, MP Nihan alluded the profitable revenue to positive changes brought about by tourism minister Moosa Zameer and more proficient state policies.

“Only a few islands, few enough to count on your fingers, have brought in more than USD 40 million to MIRA (Maldives Inland Revenue Authority) in just six months,” he said.

Noting that this marks the first time for the state to receive such substantial revenue in a short period of time via island leases, Nihan thanked the government for its efforts.

Shedding light on the government’s amendment to the Tourism Act to authorise bypassing of bidding process to lease islands, Nihan pointed out that such operations have taken place before and the parliament is aiming to bring them within the “framework of the law”.

He asserted that the amendment strengthens the hope for the unremitting progress of the country’s largest industry.

The first reading of the amendment took place at the parliament session on Monday. The amendment reads that an island, a lagoon or a land may be leased with or without a bidding process. The bidding process may be bypassed only upon submission of a detailed proposal of the project to the tourism ministry.

The Tourism Act currently states that islands and lands may be leased for development of resorts only to the best bid under the policy determined by the tourism ministry.

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