The government of Maldives has announced that it is planning to introduce an alternative to US Dollar for import and export payments. The Governor of the central bank MMA, Mr Ali Hashim has stated that “To reduce the high demand for US Dollars in Maldives, Maldives Monetary authority (MMA) is planning to introduce Indian Rupees or Chinese Yuan to the Maldivian market as a accepted foreign currency in Maldives.”.
The tourism dependent Maldives has traditionally relied on tourism as a source of foreign currency inflow. But the worldwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the island nation is forced to close down on its biggest source of US Dollar. Although the maximum ceiling for USD in Maldives is set at MVR 15.42, today a USD is sold for MVR 19.50 in the black market.
It is speculated that MMA’s decision to adopt a foreign currency has been planned for some time as the central bank had conducted a currency swap of US Dollar for Indian Rupees twice in the past year. Moreover the introduction of the Indian Rupay Card in the Maldives is also being attributed to this.