Resort lease extension will not generate funds for budget - Yamin

Wednesday, 28 January 2009 17:18

Miadhu

MP for Noonu atoll and Leader of the People’s Alliance Abdulla Yamin has said he does not believe that extending the lease period of tourist resorts will generate required funds for the state budget.

Speaking at the People’s Majlis yesterday on the proposed bill to amend the Maldives Tourism Act Yamin said considering the anticipated revenue for the budget and considering the percentage of developed resorts, the increase in revenue will be approximately US $ 40,000 per year and that even the bed tax from the existing resorts will yield a bigger amount than this. He also sated that the bill is silent on the payment period for the money levied by the government due to extension of lease period and that it is left to the discretion of the resort owner. He further pointed out that lease period of the 68 resorts which are still under development will automatically be extended be extended for a 50 year period and that even with undeveloped resorts are counted , it will be a total of 150 resorts, and that the government will only generate an increase of US $ 25,000 from the 150 resorts. He raised the question whether such a long extension and privileges is worth the only US $ 25,000. He expressed that he is not in support of accepting the bill to the Majlis and called on the government to withdraw the bill.

Thaa MP Hassan Afeef speaking on the bill said that the main objective of the bill is to generate additional funds to the state budget and to ease the financial difficulties faced with the government. He said some members were trying to close all avenues of government revenues and that he would like to know the status of state treasury since the fall of 30 year old regime of former President Gayoom.

At the sitting members spoke in support of the bill while others opposed the bill. Members also noted that objective of the bill will not be realized as the bill stands and that it needed many amendments.

Thaa member Mohamed Shareef expressed that extending the lease of resorts was proposed by the government as a means of generating additional money to run the government and that this dire circumstance is a direct complete disregard to constitution by previous government. He expressed support for the bill saying the funds to run the government must be sought. Majlis on Wednesday is expected to put the bill to vote.

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