Transport and communications sector expected to flourish next year

The transport and communications sector is expected to reach pre-COVID-19 levels this year, according to the proposed budget for the upcoming year.

The budget proposed for next year states that productivity growth is expected to rise to an average of 11.4 percent in the medium term. It also noted that the productivity of the transport and communications sectors increased this year compared to last year.

The Maldives' borders were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and reopened three months later. The number of tourists arriving in the Maldives fell sharply during the year. The budget said that the Maldives' transport and communications sector improved with the reopening of many international airports and the resumption of international flights. Last year, the sector's production stood at 79.6 percent of the 2019 production.

The budget says that in 2020, the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to a sharp decline in tourist arrivals. As a result, productivity in the wholesale and retail sectors also declined that year. While the wholesale and retail sectors grew rapidly with the positive changes in the tourism industry last year, it has yet to reach the pre-COVID-19 levels from 2019, it said.

The budget said the sector contributed an average of 4.5 percent to the country's productivity growth from the second quarter of last year to the second quarter of this year. In the medium term, the sector is expected to grow by an average of five percent.