Utility bill discounts, business loans announced for COVID-19 relief

A business in Maldives. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has announced discounts to the water and electricity bills of all households in the Maldives in addition to a loan facility for small and medium enterprise businesses due to the current restrictive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

President Solih said that the discounts from the water bills of households would be by 30 percent while businesses would get a 20 percent discount. Discounts from electricity bills for households would be by 40 percent while businesses would gain a discount of 20 percent. 

Regarding the loan facility for businesses due to the restrictions imposed, President Solih said that the government was working on finding a EUR 20 million facility. The purpose of the loan facility was to reduce the impact on businesses due to the COVID-19 measures. He further added that loans would be issued through the Bank of Maldives as well. 

"We are doing all of this for the benefit of the public, with the capacity of the government. The government will give even more assistance in the future, to overcome COVID-19, god willing," said President Solih. 

Speaking further about the loans, the President said that soft loans to be issued under the facility would be targeted for cafes, restaurants, and gyms. In addition to this, economic recovery loans would also be issued through the Bank of Maldives. The recovery loans would be issued in June, according to the President. 

"Nearly MVR 375 million. A EUR 20 million facility is (for stimulus recovery loan package) is being arranged. God willing, it will be started in June," said the President.

The loans would follow similar loans issued last year during the beginning of the pandemic in the Maldives, according to the President.