'Will not increase country's debt through development projects' - Finance Minister

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer has stated that the government will implement development projects in the Maldives in such a way that it does not burden the country's borrowings.

Briefing the press on the 'Maldives Partnership Forum' commencing on Monday, Minister Ameer said the government intends to secure funds for future projects in a feasible and manageable way which would not increase the national debt.

"The increase in debt has been included in the budget. For an example, if we sign a credit line agreement of US$ 800 million, it does not mean the country's borrowings immediately increase [by US$ 800 million]. The borrowings will increase only with the disbursement of the funds. Therefore, we will be careful in our spending and will spend on feasible projects', said the Minister.

The Minister added that the government considers ways in which development projects can be implemented while maintaining the national debt in a feasible manner.

Currently, a national development master-plan is being drafted with the assistance of international financial institutes , and will be completed by the end of the month, the minister revealed.

"In addition to the master-plan, we are also drafting a spatial plan for the Maldives through which we will identify which areas of the country will be developed. For an example, which islands we will develop as cities and towns, and what services will be offered from the locations will be decided under the plan', said Ameer.

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, who took part in the joint press conference also spoke on the topic, stating that projects undertaken by the government are planned well in advance and are projects that would benefit the people.

"The government spending on projects are pre-planned and well thought out. We try to use the funds in a way that does not increase the citizen's debt.", said the minister.

The latest statistics released by the Finance Ministry show the national debt had increased by MVR 18.2 billion between 2016 and 2018, with foreign debt reaching MVR 20 billion and domestic debt reaching MVR 27 million.