Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer has said that the government is giving high priority to reducing public debt year by year. The minister made the statement on Wednesday while addressing members of Parliament today during the 2023 budget debate.
Minister Ameer said the budget deficit stood at 13.8 percent of GDP last year. While the deficit stood at 14.3 percent of GDP this year, debt is expected to be at MVR 8.4 billion next year, which is 8.1 percent of GDP.
The minister said the current global economic situation has affected the economy of Maldives just like other countries. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the war between Ukraine and Russia have caused further instability to the economy, he said.
The minister said the Maldives' economy shrunk by 33.5 percent in 2020 alone, and that the estimated revenue for the year fell by more than 50 percent. However, the economy grew by 41.6 percent last year due to the government's quick and strong measures, he said.
"The economy is expected to grow 13 percent this year owing to the growth in tourism and other sectors,' the minister said.
The government has proposed a budget of MVR 42.7 billion for next year. The government's budget for next year is MVR 5.8 billion higher than the MVR 36.9 billion budget approved this year.
Of the MVR 32.1 billion revenue expected next year, tax revenue is expected to account for 73.3 percent of the revenue, and grant aids, 7.7 percent. Therefore, next year's revenue without grants is expected to be around MVR 29.9 billion.