MVR 49.7M spent on discounting electricity bills, MVR 10.9M on water bills

Utility bills. (File Photo/Sun)

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer, on Saturday, announced the Maldivian government has spent more than MVR 60 million on discounting utility bills amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government had previously announced it planned on discounting 40 percent of the electricity bill and 30 percent of the water bill in April.

At a press conference at the National Emergency Operations Center on Saturday afternoon, Ameer said the government had spent MVR 49.7 million on discounting electricity bills and MVR 10.9 million on discounting water bills.

This constituted to an average deduction of MVR 500 from electricity bills and an average deduction of MVR 235 from water bills, he said.

According to records released by the Finance Ministry, the government provided discounts on water bills to 46,417 households, and discounts on electricity bills to 92,588 households.

Maldives identified its first virus case, in Kuredu resort, on March 7, and has been in a state of public health emergency since March 12.

While virus cases had initially been restricted to resorts and safaris, and later inbound travelers in quarantine facilities, the populous Maldivian capital Male’ City identified its first virus case on April 15 – prompting a lockdown on the Greater Male’ Region.

Following the lockdown, utility companies Male Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) and State Electric Company (STELCO) have ceased physical visits to take meter readings, and have established virtual platforms where customers can send pictures of their meter readings.

Male’ has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Maldives, contributing to over 1,200 of the total virus cases, which stands at 1,274. 109 have since made full recoveries while four have died from complications.