Bill to extend tourist resort lease period to 50 yrs submitted

Thursday, 27 November 2008 10:04

The newly appointed government of President Mohamed Nasheed (Anni) has submitted a bill to People’s Majlis to amend the Tourism Act to extend the lease of tourist resorts and other islands leased for industrial proposes to 50 years as a means to encourage investments and growth.

At the 18 sitting of the third session of the People’s Majlis held on Wednesday morning, the first reading of the proposed bill was held. After the first reading, the Chair announced that the second reading has been scheduled for Monday, 1 December 2008.
The government has been working to submit to such a bill to the Majlis for quite sometime. The bill aims to increase government earnings to offset the anticipated budget shortfalls and ease the difficulties faced with resort owners in finding adequate funding to develop the resorts. President Mohamed Nasheed while briefing the media on the proposed 2009 state budget has said that his government will be extending the lease of tourist resorts and other islands leased for industrial proposes to 50 years as a means to encourage investments and growth. Consequently a bill to amend the Tourism Act to facilitate lease of resort islands to 50 years was submitted to Majlis on Wednesday. Presently resorts are leased for a maximum period of 35 years if the investment is more than US$10 million. Investors have raised concern on the present lease period of resorts and other industrial islands saying sustainable investment was not possible because of the short leasing period and difficulties in getting soft finance for such projects.

The government in submitting the bill expressed that the main objective of the bill is to sustain the developments and progress of the tourism industry as well as to increase the government revenue. Sources inform that some parties are not happy to extend the lease period to 50 years, while industry stakeholders and investors have welcomed the move. The constitution states islands of Maldives can be leased for 90 years.

Source: Miadhu Daily

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