The Maldivian government, on Wednesday, published the regulation on income support allowance, which established that self-employed individuals and freelancers whose livelihoods have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are also eligible for the allowance.
The regulation on income support allowance was drafted by the President’s office, and was published on this Wednesday’s issue of the Government Gazette.
According to the regulation, self-employed individuals who have not received an income or whose income has been adversely affected after March 1, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for the allowance.
Those who have not received an income are eligible for the full MVR 5,000.
Meanwhile, those adversely affected are eligible for the allowance if their reduced income is lower than MVR 5,000, and even if they reduced income is lower than MVR 5,000, they will not be eligible the full allowance, but the difference.
Similarly, if the self-employed individual in question has an additional income source and if that additional income source is lower than MVR 5,000 per month, he/she will not be eligible for the full allowance, but the difference.
And if the additional income source exceeds MVR 5,000 per month, the self-employed individual will not be eligible for the income support allowance.
Self-employed applicants must be between the ages of 18 years to 65 years and locally employed at least up until March 1, 2020 in order to be eligible for the allowance. They must also have earned an income through self-employment for at least six months prior to March 1, 2020, and must not be employed elsewhere.
They are also required to submit documents attesting to their status as self-employed individuals; a copy of their permit, a copy of a contract for a project, and copies of invoices for the past six months.
Self-employed individuals are also eligible for loans under the economic stimulus package rolled out by the government. However, the MVR 18,000 loan limit has been protested as too low.
The income support allowance will be implemented by the Economic Ministry, and the allowance will be disbursed by Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) or National Social Protection Agency (NSPA) through the Finance Ministry.
The allowance is aimed at providing financial support to the people whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic to they are able to meet their essential needs.
The allowance will be awarded for three months, from April to June.
Eligible parties will receive the allowance by the 15th of every month, and must inform the Job Center is they find employment within the period, upon which they will cease receiving the allowance.
Those who wish to receive the income support are required to apply for the allowance through the Job Center.
The regulation on income support allowance establishes that criminal action will be taken against parties who provide misinformation to the government when applying for the allowance.
The regulation is effective the moment it is published on the Government Gazette, to until the relevant legislature passed by the Parliament takes effect.