Maldives government to extend lease of tourist resorts to 50 years

Tuesday, 25 November 2008 08:38

The 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. This was announced by new President Mohamed Nasheed yesterday during a media meeting held in the President's Office. The President was speaking on major Government policies and decisions with regard to its budget for 2009. Presently resorts are leased for a maximum period of 35 years if the investment is more than US$10 million.

President Nasheed who assumed office just two weeks ago after winning the first multi-party presidential election has said his Government will be working to provide improved and affordable services to the people and accelerate economic development and industries. The President said his Government will extend lease of tourist resorts and other islands developed for various economic and industrial purposes. President Nasheed said there is no plan to increase the rent of resorts. The former government also attempted to propose a bill to the People's Majlis to increase the lease of resorts to 50 years, but the proposal met with stiff resistance from some quarters. The constitution states islands of Maldives can be leased for 90 years.

Investors have raised concern about the 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.

President Nasheed also announced as part of his government's budget policy the government budget will be based on definite income. Nasheed said the government will introduce business tax and the necessary legislation will be followed soon. The Government has also decided to provide health insurance to 100,000 people next year. The President also confirmed his pledge to provide a monthly pension of around MRf 2,000 to every one above 65 years will also be honored from the 2009 budget.

The President who was joined by his Minister of Finance Ali Hashim and State Minister Ahmed Assad said the former government's budget for next year was totaling to MRf 22 million, but because of the expected revenue for the year, the budget of his Government will be around MRf 13 billion.

The Government has said there is an accumulated debt of MRf 2 billion from the former Government. President Nasheed also said the budget for 2008 will have a deficit of MRf 1.3 to 1.5 billion by the end of the year, but he hopes to raise the amount needed to relieve this deficit.

Source: Maidhu Daily

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