Freelancer’s loan limit upped to MVR 30,000

Taxis drive by a street in Male' City. (File Photo/Sun/Muaviyath Anwar)

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer, on Saturday, announced the decision to increase the limit on relief loans to self-employed individuals including freelance workers to MVR 30,000.

SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) had rolled out the COVID-19 Viyafaari Ehee, a loan product designed to aid SMEs and self-employed individuals facing cashflow constraints due to the coronavirus pandemic in April.

It is a component of the economic recovery package announced by Finance Ministry.

However, self-employed individuals were only eligible for maximum MVR 18,000 – a limit criticized for being insufficiently low.

Following criticism over the low loan limit, Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail sat down for a virtual meeting with a group of self-employed individuals on May 3, during which he said the government was discussing increasing the loan limit to MVR 30,000.

At a National Emergency Operations Center press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Finance Minister Ameer announced the government had finalized the decision to increase the loan limit for self-employed individuals to MVR 30,000.

“The MVR 18,000 loan limit announced by SME Finance Corporation has been increased to MVR 30,000. I believe this will provide more ease,” said Ameer.

Only self-employed individuals who have worked for six of the last 12 months, and earned a verifiable income during that period are eligible for the loan.

Self-employed individuals are also eligible for income support allowance, but will need to choose between the two options.