US$ 290 mln secured as assistance: Finance minister

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer has revealed that US$ 290 million has been secured by the Maldives government in the form of loans and grants in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a press conference held at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) on Saturday, Minister Ameer said the government is seeking aid for different sectors from multiple international financial institutions. In this regard, over US$ 290 million have been secured thus far, and efforts are underway to seek more assistance, said the minister.

"In order to lighten the burden on the state budget, we are seeking an ITFC credit facility for State Trading Organization, the SOE through which most items are being supplied to the country. This will be accomplished through the issuance of sovereign guarantees. We are also communicating with the Asian Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) and other parties," said the minister.

The minister said the government still needs to secure an additional MVR 13 billion, and efforts are underway to gather the funds.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has extended an assistance of US$ 28.9 million to mitigate the losses caused to the Maldives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds have now been credited to the central bank. The Reserve Bank of India has also issued US$ 150 million under a currency swap agreement with the Maldives government.