Economic Minister: Relief loans issued to 161 cafés, restaurants

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail speaks to press. (Photo/President's Office)

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail states COVID-19 relief loans were issued to 161 cafes and restaurants to help them mitigate the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

His comment comes in response to some media reports claiming relief loans were issued to just five cafes and restaurants.

Fayyaz refuted the claim in a press conference on Tuesday evening.

He said that total 161 cafes and restaurants were issued relief loans.

Fayyaz said that Bank of Maldives (BML) issued MVR 16 million in loans to five cafes and restaurants, while SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) issued MVR 33 million in loans to 156 cafes and restaurants.

He said the loans issued by SDFC went to 90 cafes and restaurants operating in the greater Male’ region.

Fayyaz said MVR 357 million and MVR 585 million in loans were issued by BML to medium and large enterprises, and 2,200 applicants received MVR 363 million in loans through the SDFC Covid Relief Fund.

He said that the 2,200 applicants include approximately 1,519 businesses and 685 private companies.

“One of the biggest challenges facing small and medium enterprises is that they are unable to finance their businesses without putting down large collaterals. SDFC, which established in response to this, has approved close to MVR 1 billion in loans to 765 parties to date. And MVR 524 million has already been disbursed,” he said.

Fayyaz said that SDFC is therefore estimated to have issued MVR 1.3 billion in regular and COVID-19 relief loans.