Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) has been appointed as the Chair of the South Asia Region Financial Inclusion Initiative (SARFII) at the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Global Policy Forum.
Eight South Asian financial regulators launched SARFII to accelerate financial inclusion, during the AFI Global Policy Forum, the world’s largest financial inclusion gathering, held in Jordan. MMA is the first Chair of SARFII and Nepal Rastra Bank is the Vice Chair for the term 2022-2024.
Speaking at the AFI Global Policy Forum, Governor of MMA Ali Hashim highlighted the work to be conducted to increase financial inclusion in the South Asian region. He also highlighted the need for South Asian countries to work together to formulate policies and reach milestones.
SARFII aims to boost peer learning, knowledge exchange, information sharing, and regional cooperation among its eight members. AFI’s regional initiatives enhance the network’s ability to support its members working on specific regional priorities, share regional knowledge and translate global financial inclusion issues into practical implementation at the regional and national levels.
At the forum, AFI’s South Asian members identified six key priorities: digital financial services, financing of micro, small and medium (MSME) enterprises, reducing the gender gap in access to finance, inclusive green finance, financial inclusion data, and consumer protection and financial education and literacy.
AFI stated that South Asian members have made important strides over the past decade in accelerating financial inclusion, providing access to finance to over 40% of the region’s population in 2021, up from 23% in 2011. The organisation stated over 150 million people do not have access to finance although the region has been the cradle of innovation, that the gender gap continues to be higher than the global average, and effects of climate change have been adverse.
The South Asian members aim to seize the opportunities amidst these challenges and are taking action through a wide range of policies to accelerate financial inclusion for all and eliminate inequity by addressing the local and unique challenges in the region.
Discussions held on exempting tariff from Maldivian fish exports to Türkiye
Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer has revealed that discussions were held on Tuesday, regarding exempting duty levied on fisheries products imported to Türkiye from the Maldives.
Minister Zameer said the discussion took place during a meeting between Maldivian President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and Türkiye’s Deputy Minister of Trade Mustafa Tuzcu as part of the ongoing official visit to President Muizzu to Türkiye.
Zameer said easier access for Maldives fish products to Türkiye market was also noted during the meeting. At the same time, discussions also focused on opportunities for enhancing trade and cooperation between the Maldives and Türkiye, including removing the tariff on Maldivian fish exports to Türkiye.
Discussions focused on exploring new areas of cooperation, such as tourism, construction, and renewable energy generation. They also addressed enhancing partnerships in existing areas of cooperation, both bilateral and multilateral.
He expressed confidence that Maldives-Türkiye relations will reach new heights through greater trade cooperation.
The meeting was also attended by other cabinet ministers accompanying President Muizzu in his ongoing visit. During the meeting, the President expressed his desire to deepen bilateral cooperation in commerce and investment between the Maldives and Türkiye. The President underscored the Maldives’ eagerness to explore opportunities for increased trade and investment with Türkiye, emphasizing that the aspirations for greater national development resonate deeply with the Maldivian people.
He also suggested increasing Turkish Airlines flights to the Maldives, considering the nation’s potential as a hub connecting the West to the East.
In conclusion, the President expressed optimism that Maldives- Türkiye cooperation would reach new heights during his tenure.
During the visit, the President also met with the Maldivian community residing in Türkiye where he pledged to work on remedying difficulties faced due to the dollar limit imposed on Bank of Maldives (BML) cards.
President Muizzu also called on the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Sri Lanka to sign FTA with Thailand in February: Colombo
COLOMBO, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) — Sri Lanka plans is expected to sign the Sri Lanka-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in February 2024, Sri Lanka’s cabinet spokesperson Bandula Gunawardena told reporters on Tuesday.
At a press conference, Gunawardena said the agreement will be signed following the completion of negotiations by December 2023.
The cabinet has approved the free trade agreement, which will see 80 percent of tariff lines liberalized over 15 years, he said.
Sri Lanka is Thailand’s fourth-largest trading partner in South Asia, and Sri Lanka’s main exports to Thailand include gems, jewellery, tea, spices, fiber and metal products, according to official data.
In 2021, Sri Lanka imported goods from Thailand worth 355 million U.S. dollars and exported 59 million dollars’ worth of commodities to Thailand, according to official data.
Fenaka slapped with MVR 4M fine
Fenaka Corporation has been slapped with MVR 4 million fine for building power houses at 21 islands without completion of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process.
In a statement on Sunday, Environment Protection Agency (EPA) said they investigated Fenaka for building powerhouses at 21 islands without completing the EIA process. Following their investigation, EPA said they have fined Fenaka by MVR 4,200,000.
EPA’s statement read that information received during the investigation and the documents exchanged between the two parties established that physical works on the powerhouses commenced without completing the EIA process.
They also noted that Fenaka had been previously fined for violating the regulations of EIA.
The 21 islands where physical works on the powerhouses commenced without completion of EIA are;
Fenaka Has been instructed by EPA to settle the fine within 30 days, starting today.
EPA also called on Fenaka to adhere to regulations while undertaking projects.
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