Total foreign debt includes sovereign guarantees- Nasheed

Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed on Saturday stated that sovereign guarantees issued by the government should be counted when calculating debt.

In a tweet posted on Saturday, the former president said the total foreign debt of Maldives includes the active sovereign guaranteed debt, in addition to government to government debt.

Nasheed also noted that the sovereign guarantees issued to Chinese banks are at alarming level, and warned that the fact should be kept in mind for the future.

Nasheed's statement comes after Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives, His Excellency Zhang Lizhong responded to Nasheed's statement at the annual conference of the Indian Think Tank, where he said the Maldivian government owes over US$ 3.4 billion to different Chinese companies. Nasheed also proposed to allocate 15% of the national budget for the loan repayment.

Responding to Nasheed, Ambassador Zhang on Saturday stated while the Sinamale' b\Bridge project cost US$ 200 million, the Maldivian government has to repay only 50% of the loan as large percentage of the remainder was funded under Chinese grant aid.