Policy change to air ticket purchasing to reduce expenditure

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu departing for Dubai, UAE on an official visit on February 11, 2024. (Photo'/President's Office)

A change has been brought to the policy governing how air tickets are purchased for official purposes by government offices as part of reducing state expenditure.

A circular signed by Finance Minister Dr. Mohamed Shafeeg was sent to government offices on Tuesday informed of the nullification of a policy set in place in January 2016 which stipulated that all official visits undertaken to foreign destinations by government offices must be arranged via Island Aviation Services Limited’s travel division, Maldives Holidays.

The nullification is effective from Friday onwards.

The circular further detailed the new policy, which states the ticket to destinations apart from ones operated by Maldivian will be purchased from an airline offering the cheapest fares after considering options from airlines traveling directly to the destination.

The policy is effective from Friday onwards.

As per statistics, the current administration’s travel expenses to foreign nations since assuming office in November has increased to MVR 108.1 million. A total of MVR 228.4 million has been allocated for travel expenses in this year’s budget. Total travel expenses so far this year stands at MVR 120.6 million.

Notably, as per the President’s Office, President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and his delegation’s recent official visit to India to attend the inauguration ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a second term cost MVR 1.4 billion from the state budget.

However, the current state of the Maldives’ economy has prompted stringent cost reduction measures by the government including cutting down political posts and the cancellation of events planned for this year’s Intendance Day.