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Four sandbanks in Baa Atoll to be leased for 10 years

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The Baa Atoll Council has made a decision to lease four sandbanks for a duration of 10 years. The decision was made in light of the potential financial benefits that leasing these sandbanks for an extended period could bring to the council.

The sandbanks earmarked for lease include Nurafaru sandbank, Villingilifaru sandbank, the sandbank located to the east of Landaagiraavaru Resort, and the sandbank located to the west of the resort. Three out of the four sandbanks have already been acquired by resorts, while the remaining one has been obtained by a private owner. Previously, the four sandbanks collectively generated an annual income of USD156,000.

The sandbanks are being leased out for an extended period under the condition of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project. Any proposal for acquiring the sandbanks must allocate a minimum USD32,000 towards CSR, and the CSR contribution must be paid within a span of two years.

President of the Baa Atoll Council Ahmed Afrah expressed optimism about the decision, highlighting its potential to improve the council’s financial standing. He noted that previously, the sandbanks were used by resorts without any rental payment, whereas now the community stands to benefit from the lease agreements.

Additionally, Afrah commended President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s initiative to empower councils and enhance their financial capabilities, considering it a significant step towards council empowerment. He anticipates that the initiative will enable councils to better serve the public by providing essential services in the future.

The council had previously decided to rent out many sandbanks in the atoll, in November this year, however the previous government designated four areas of the in the atoll as protected areas instead.

Source(s): PsmNews

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SDFC expands funding assistance for reef fishers, related SMEs

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The SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) has added new categories to the ‘Kandufalhuge Nafaa’ loan facility; specifically “targeted toward supporting the growth and development of reef fisheries”.

SDFC will issue up to a maximum of MVR 700,000 in funding towards the development of reef fisheries; by way of financing either local fishers or small-to-medium (SMEs) enterprises operating in reef fishing activities.

The loan facility is subject to an interest rate of 5% with a six-month grace period, and a 10-year repayment period.

SDFC further highlights that all the vessels financed under the loan would be held as collateral or mortgage.

Expenses exceeding the maximum MVR 700,000 ceiling of the loan facility should be incurred by the debtor, added SDFC.

The facility is specifically targeted for reef fishers, suppliers of reef fish; either processed, packed or frozen to be sold at industrial capacity, exporters, and local suppliers from the atolls.

SDFC further highlighted that the facility is aimed at boosting specific activities of any individual or SME operating in reef fisheries sector, and they include;

  • To develop a new vessel or repair existing vessel used in reef fisheries activities
  • Installation of engines in vessels used for reef fishing
  • Procurement/purchase of equipment used in navigating or commandeering the vessel
  • For repairs and modifications of a vessel used in reef fishing
  • Procurement/purchase of fish processing machinery and equipment
  • Procurement/purchase of packing materials and equipment

Source(s): sun.mv

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Maldivian lowers surfboard transport fees as pledged by President

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Island Aviation Services Limited (IASL) has announced the fee reduction for transporting surfboards via the national airline, Maldivian, as pledged by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

As such, the national airline has announced reduced fees for surfboard transportation. Charges for larger surfboards were decreased by 33%, while smaller ones saw a reduction of 66%, marking a tangible step towards supporting local businesses and promoting tourism.

President Dr. Muizzu responded to concerns raised by Surfing Operator Ahmed Rasheed from Gadhdhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, during the “Raees ge Javaab” series, where citizens directly engage with the President on various issues.

During the session, Rasheed highlighted the steep fees imposed by the national airline for transporting surfboards, stressing the impact on local businesses in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. Acknowledging the significance of the issue, Dr. Muizzu committed to reducing the fees, recognising their adverse effects on surf-related enterprises and the tourism sector. Stressing surfing’s vital role in the Maldives’ economy, particularly in Gadhdhoo, the President swiftly acted to fulfill his pledge.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Govt launches ‘Addu Asseyri Tourism Development Plan’

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The Tourism Ministry has launched the ‘Addu Asseyri Tourism Development Plan’, an initiative under the administration’s ‘Hafuthaa 14’ roadmap.

The project was launched in a ceremony attended by Tourism Minister Ibrahim Faisal and Addu City Mayor Ali Nizar in a ceremony held at the Addu City Council on Thursday.

According to the Tourism Ministry, the ‘Addu Asseyri Tourism Development Plan’ is in line with the administration’s ambitious first 100-day pledge to formulate and introduce a specialized tourism project for Addu City.

Developed by CDC Consulting, the comprehensive five-year destination development strategy is accompanied by a detailed situational analysis report.

According to the Tourism Ministry, the plan is strategically crafted to not only enhance tourism in the region, but also to make a substantial contribution to the local economy of Addu, reflecting President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s commitment to transformative initiatives.

The plan also encompasses key presidential pledges to Addu city, including the establishment of 6,000 tourist beds, the creation of 10,000 jobs, the revitalization of Shangri-La operations, and the establishment of a seaplane hub within the first year of the presidency.

Tourism Ministry says the initiatives will transform Addu City into a thriving tourism hub, offering unparalleled opportunities for growth and prosperity.

The plan also outlines a range of developments, such as the creation of cultural village, wellness zones, marine protected areas, and hospitality school.

According to the Tourism Ministry, the initiatives not only aim to attract visitors, but also to showcase the rich heritage and natural beauty of Addu City, providing a unique and immersive experience for tourists and locals alike.

Source(s): sun.mv

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