Outstanding payments to fishermen to be issued by March 5

Fisheries Minister Ahmed Shiyam has said all outstanding payments to fishermen would be settled by March 5.

The assurance comes in the wake of a protest staged by frustrated fishermen in Kooddoo, where MIFCO's fish factory is located, over pending payments from the government for fish supplied.

Amidst the protest, Minister Shiyam acknowledged the grievances of the fishermen, emphasizing that the government is actively working to address their concerns as a top priority. He underscored the importance of peaceful protests in democratic societies, urging protesting fishermen to maintain an environment conducive to the continued operations in Kooddoo, as also requested by non-protesting fishermen.

Minister Shiyam confirmed that the total outstanding amount of MVR 280 million, including MVR 250 million inherited from the previous administration, would be cleared by March 5. He further said since the government revised fish purchase prices, a new payment system has been implemented where fishermen will be paid for fish purchased within one week. He noted that fish worth MVR 26 million had already been purchased since the new prices came into effect, and said the payments would be settled within seven days of purchase.

The minister further highlighted President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu's keen interest in resolving longstanding issues faced by the fishing industry.

"The President is closely monitoring the affairs of the fishermen. I am traveling from Shaviyani Atoll to meet the fishermen in Kooddoo. We will address the concerns of the fishermen and tackle the challenges in the fishing industry," he said.

The delay in payment from MIFCO for fish purchased has been a persistent issue for fishermen over the past 12 years. However, no previous administration has successfully tackled the problem.