COVID-19: MVR 164.3 mln issued as income support

Over MVR 164.3 million has been issued as income support for those whose employment status had changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has been issuing an income support allowance of MVR 5,000 per month under its Economic Relief Package for those whose employment was affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A large number of people whose livelihood had been affected due to the pandemic requested the government for financial assistance when the income support program was announced.

Statistics released by the Finance Ministry show MVR 164.3 million has been issued as income support to 13,177 people over several rounds.

Earlier this month, the President’s Office announced that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had made the decision to extend the duration of issuing the income support until the end of December. The income support was initially planned to be issued for a duration of three months.

The World Bank is supplementing the government’s efforts to provide income support by US$ 12.8 million, which would allow for 13,000 people to claim the benefit. While a large number of locals are facing job loss due to the global pandemic, a study conducted by UNDP and the Economic Ministry found that the employment status of over 45,000 people were affected in the Maldives as a result of the global pandemic. According to the Tourism Employment Association, over 11,000 people working in the tourism ministry have been put on ‘no pay’ leaves. A second study conducted by the Maldives National University shows that the employment status of 5 out of every 10 people has been affected.

The Maldives reopened its borders on July 15 after closing it earlier in March as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. After a rocky start, the number of tourist arrivals have been steadily increasing over the past few months. The country’s economy is expected to improve with the influx in the number of tourist arrivals.