Maldives to ask India for USD 250-350M to resolve a budgetary crisis

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at the Maldivian Presidential Inauguration on November 17, 2018. (Photo/Twitter/Narendra Modi)

Maldives requires USD 250-350 million to resolve an immediate budgetary crisis, says Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives.

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, who is on an official visit to India, gave an interview to Indian news network SNL last Sunday, during which he admitted the Maldives was under a budgetary crisis.

“We have an immediate budgetary crisis. We need USD 250-350 million in order to handle the difficult budgetary situation we’re in. We’re left in a situation where the country is facing real hardship. When I meet my counterpart tomorrow, I’m going to share this information. This information was shared with PM Modi immediately after the oath taking ceremony by President Solih. We’re hoping that we will once again be able to get the generous assistance of the India Government,” said Shahid.

The MVR 29.6 billion projected State budget for 2019 submitted to the Parliament by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been increased to MVR 30.3 billion by the Budget Evaluation Committee of the Parliament.

It is the largest projected State budget in the country’s history.

Shaheed, during his interview to SNL, said the Maldivian government requires the USD 250-350 million immediately to sustain services provided by the government.

The visit to India marks the new Foreign Minister’s first official visit since assuming office.

Opposition party, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) parliamentarian MP Dr. Abdulla Khaleel recently alleged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-hour trip to attend President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s inauguration on November 17 was part of a backdoor deal which included allowing the helicopters donates by India to remain in Maldives, allowing increase of Indian military personnel in Maldives, granting the i-Haven Project, and granting permission to operate training schools at Hithadhoo, Addu City and Lh. Maafilaafushi.

Shaheed announced that he is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE and China upon conclusion of his visit to India.

“We also came into office with a lot of pledges of providing infrastructure to the people- basic infrastructure- like fresh water, sewerage, housing, and access to islands, harbours. These are pledges we will have to deliver. In order to deliver these, we need generous assistance of India and many of our other friends in the international arena. I’m travelling to the UAE and Saudi Arabia after my trip to Delhi. I’m also hoping to travel to China during my tour of friendly countries,” said Shaheed.