India remains the country's most generous benefactor, says Finance minister

Maldives’ Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer on Sunday stated that the country most generous towards the Maldives in extending financial aid is India. He made the remarks while speaking at a ceremony held to hand over US$250 million to the Government of Maldives as financial assistance to support the economic challenges arising from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The financial support of US$250 million to the Government of Maldives will be provided through subscription in Maldives’ Government Domestic Treasury bonds by SBI, Malè. The financial assistance in the form of Treasury Bond, provided at favourable terms, and will provide significant relief for cash flow burden during the Covid19 crisis. This is the largest financial support package announced by a bilateral partner during this crisis.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ameer said India’s financial support would be utilised towards critical public service functions and COVID-19 response packages. Describing India as the country that spends on the Maldives most generously, the minister said India continues to assist the archipelago in several sectors. India has decided to extend US$ 500 million for the Greater Male’ Connectivity Project, out of which US$ 100 million is a grant assistance,” said Ameer.

Further noting that India has granted US$ 50 million to the Maldives during the current administration, US$ 150 million has been issued as government securities. Adding that a currency swap of US$ 400 million has been extended under the US$ 800 million Line of Credit, the arrangement is a significant assistance to balance the reserve, at a difficult time like this, he added.

Noting that India is currently carrying out the process of choosing contractors for the projects to be carried out under Indian Exim Bank’s Line of Credit, the minister noted that the work was being conducted in a very transparent manner. While the pre-qualification process is carried out in India, the Maldives’ Tender Board will carry out further evaluations, which would allow the best deals at the lowest prices.

He further thanked the State Bank of India (SBI) for arranging a US$ 16 million liquidity at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the economy and the livelihood of the people.