The President’s Office, on Thursday, announced that a national taskforce established by the President was working on guiding Maldives towards overcoming the COVID-19 outbreak and reopening the economy to a new normal.
President’s Office, in a statement on Thursday morning, said that the taskforce – National Taskforce on Resilience Building and Economic Recovery – was established following a Cabinet meeting on April 13.
According to the office, the taskforce has been charged with planning national efforts to assess and remedy the loss in income to businesses and individual citizens, along with its short-term and long-term social implications, due to economic slowdown as a result of the measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“The main purpose of the taskforce is to devise a plan to fast-track economic recovery and revive economic growth with the contribution, recommendation and advise of the stakeholders of all economic sectors, implement the plan and find sources to finance the plan. The government envisions this being done through the collaborative effort of the government, private sector, civil society, and other State institutions,” said the President’s Office in its statement.
The national taskforce will be directly overseen by the President, and will have three working groups.
WORKING GROUP ON FINANCE
The main task of the working group on finance is to revise the 2020 budget, project additional expenses which will be incurred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and project changes to income.
Based on this, working group will identify the figure required to cover the budget, and engage in negotiations with external parties to secure finance, said the President’s Office.
The working group is also tasked with engaging in discussions to secure concessions on repayment of external debt.
The working group will work on both fiscal and monetary policies.
WORKING GROUP ON ECONOMIC RECOVERY
The working group on economic recovery is tasked with designing and facilitating relief packages to mitigate the challenges facing businesses from tourism sector businesses to SMEs, as well as self-employed individuals with the slowdown in economic activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group is charged with introducing and managing stimulus packages to revive businesses in the medium-run, rolling out benefit schemes to assist people’s whose employment status have been affected, and identify what needs to be done to create more employment opportunities in the medium-run.
The group is also charged with identifying and facilitating new economic activities which may be run to expand the economic foundation of the country, and to make decisions and plans pertaining to the reopening of the tourism sector and other economic sectors under the advisement of health experts.
WORKING GROUP ON SOCIAL SECTOR
The working group on social sector is tasked with keeping watch over implications of loss of employment and loss of income on mental health, possible new avenues for drug abuse, and to devise and roll out programs to mitigate such issues.
The group is also tasked with improving the efficiency of social services in providing protection from domestic violence and child abuse, and also with the work on improving the living situation of migrant workers and supporting migrant workers who wish to return to their home countries.
President’s Office said it its statement that the working groups were already operational.