President urges more Maldivians to join workforce to aid in economic recovery

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. (Photo/President's Office)

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Sunday, urged more Maldivians to join the workforce, stating that greater economic activity and greater participation of Maldivians in the labor force is necessary for the Maldives to recover from the economic downfall from the coronavirus pandemic.

He made the remarks during his speech at the Higher Achiever Scholarship award ceremony on Sunday evening.

In his speech, President Solih said the State has noble intentions in awarding scholarship opportunities to academic high achievers; to build a generation of productive and academically proficient children who will take over the responsibility of building and developing the nation.

He said the State continues to spend heavily in that regard.

President Solih said a nation by itself cannot build and develop itself.

“National development and progress is the result of the innovative thinking borne within the minds of its citizens. We are working to educate Maldivian children to develop and nurture the capacity for innovative thinking within their minds,” he said.

President Solih said that every student approaches higher education with personal hopes and aspirations, and that their motherland had its own hopes and aspirations for them.

“That is that they be children who serve their nation with loyalty, honesty and sincerity. And we need such children, especially now,” he said.

President Solih said the Maldives faces unprecedented levels of hardship in face of the coronavirus pandemic, and that the country’s economy has been rendered starving amid the threats posed by the deadly virus.

He also noted that the three-month suspension of tourism activity, which the Maldives lifted on July 15, marked the first time for the tourism industry – the country’s main economic driver - to be put on pause since the launch of the industry in the 1970s.

He said the cease in tourism activity has resulted in unprecedented damage to the country’s economy, and that now was the time for the Maldivian people to unite and work towards economic recovery.

“The most effective way to accomplish this is to increase economic activity and the number of Maldivians in the workforce. And especially by pouring life into the economy through the fresh and warm blood of the youth, such as yourselves,” he said.

President Solih urged young men and women to make use of available employment opportunities and join the workforce.

He said that greater participation of young Maldivians in the workforce will also serve to reduce remittance, and will serve as a solution to many social issues.

“Therefore, what you students must focus on is, to develop yourselves and produce personalities who are of use to the nation. What you should think about is, what does your nation need of you? What skill, and in what field, should you develop within yourselves for your nation?” he said.

President Solih said he hopes for all students and all young men and women of Maldives learn knowledge and skills in the spirit of patriotism, and take over the responsibility of developing the nation.