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World Bank welcomes proposed changes to GST

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The World Bank has welcomed proposed changes to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and has expressed support to the Government of Maldives in implementing economic reforms.

The Maldives Public Expenditure Review (PER) report published by World Bank noted the economy of Maldives is on the verge of recovery after an unprecedented shock caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. The report said key reforms can enhance the quality of public spending, strengthen debt management and debt transparency and collect more revenues to finance the development needs of the Maldives.

Furthermore, the report highlighted much of the increase in public spending and debt over the past five years has financed investments in basic services and infrastructure, especially housing. and while these investments can boost long-term growth, making public spending more efficient, transparent, and targeted towards the neediest groups, it is essential to contain the rapid rise in spending and debt. Such reforms are particularly important because economy is highly vulnerable to external shocks such as a global recession and climate change-induced natural disasters, noted the World Bank.

Regarding the report, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer said the report supports the efforts to reduce the risks to public finances and ensure that public money is well spent in order to secure a more resilient and prosperous future for all Maldivians.

Many of the reforms proposed in the PER intend to make the distribution of public spending more equitable. In the housing sector, for example, implementing income-based targeting would help improve the financial viability of the Rent-to-Own program while also promoting home ownership. As for public sector wages, the National Pay Commission could consider consolidating or eliminating most of the allowances that drive inequity and cap the overtime allowance. The new Public Service Pay Framework is a key first step in the right direction but strengthening wage bill controls and other related reforms is also needed to ensure that the reform is successful. Finally, reforms to eliminate double pensions in the civil sector and improve the coverage of the pension system are needed to ensure that both current and future retirees can benefit from the generous scheme.

The PER is a core analytical product of the World Bank which assesses the quality of government spending and identifies key fiscal reforms that countries need to undertake to achieve better growth and development outcomes. It is the first PER for the Maldives since 2002.

Source: psmnews

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Maldives and Bahrain exchange four key agreements

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The Maldives and Bahrain have exchanged four key agreements, demonstrating a pivotal point of progress in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa presided over the agreement signing ceremony at the Qudaibiya Palace in Bahrain. The agreements include the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Political Consultations exchanged between the ministries of foreign affairs of both countries and the MoU for Cooperation on Diplomatic Training and Exchange of Information and Documentation between the Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa Academy for Diplomatic Studies and the Foreign Service Institute of the Maldives (FOSIM).

The agreements also include the MoU on Cooperation in the Area of Youth and Sports Development between the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs of Bahrain and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment of the Maldives, and the MoU on Climate Change between Supreme Council for Environment of Bahrain and Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology the Government of the Maldives.

At the ceremony, two additional agreements were also announced. The first agreement concerns the Maldives as a sea-to-air partner which provides access to Bahrain’s global sea-to-air logistics hub, and the second agreement grants the Maldives sovereignty over the data of its beneficiaries in Bahrain-based data centres.

 

Source: psmnews

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New seaplane terminal at VIA inaugurated

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The new seaplane terminal at Velana International Airport (VIA0 was inaugurated on Thursday.

‘Noovilu Seaplane Terminal’ was inaugurated during a special ceremony on Thursday morning by Vice President Faisal Naseem, Maldives Airports Company Limited’s (MACL) Chairman Mohamed Umar Manik and the Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives Wang Lixin.

The ceremony was also attended by Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi and other senior government officials.

The new seaplane terminal is a USD 55 million worth project. While the terminal measures 28,000 square meters – its MRO Facility measures 8,836 square meters. The VVIP section measures 100 square meters.

Hailing as the largest seaplane terminal in the world – ‘Noovilu Seaplane Terminal’ has 42 lounges of which all except two have been leased to resorts. MACL’s ‘Vilu’ business lounge had 235 seats, whilst ‘Neeru’ lounge has 315 seats.

In addition to this new seaplane terminal, the newly developed Code F runway at VIA was also operationalized on Thursday morning with the landing of the inaugural flight. The Emirates’ aircraft had been inbound from Dubai, and upon landing was welcomed by a water salute.

Both these projects were incepted during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s administration under an initiative to further develop the airport. The work was carried out by China’s Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG).

The airport development project valued at USD 800 million (MVR 12.3 billion) saw the establishment of a new VIP terminal at VIA. A new passenger terminal and a fuel farm are also being developed under the project.

 

Source: Sun.Mv

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President and First Lady depart to Bahrain on an official visit

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President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna Ahmed have departed for Bahrain on an official visit.

The Spokesperson at the President’s Office Miuvaan Mohamed said President Solih will be visiting Bahrain from October 5-8 at the invitation of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.

During the visit, President Solih is scheduled to sign a number of high-level agreements with Bahrain, which will further strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries.

President Solih last travelled abroad to the United Kingdom (UK) last month to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

 

Source: psmnews

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