Gov't has no intention to lower internet prices: ex-minister

Former minister of Science and Technology, Mohamed Maleeh Jamal has stated that the current government has not fulfilled its pledge to bring down the cost of internet despite internet service providers agreeing to bring down prices.

The internet prices in the Maldives is one of the highest in the region. It is a pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to bring down the cost of internet, and the public has been expressing their concern over the delays in fulfilling the pledge.

Speaking on a program aired by local channel RaajjeTV on Friday, State Minister at the Communications Ministry, Ali Solih had stated that the President's pledge has already been fulfilled. However, acting minister of Science and Technology, and Minister of Economic Affairs Fayyaz Ibrahim had stated that the recent changes in internet prices had nothing to do with government intervention, and that he does not believe an adequate change has been brought to the cost of internet. However, the issue will be resolved soon and a good change in internet prices will soon be implemented, said Fayyaz.

Speaking regarding the comments of the two ministers, recently axed minister of technology, Maleeh said the ministry wrapped up all arrangements necessary to bring down the cost of internet by June 19, 2019, and forwarded the paperwork to the President's Office. However, the government did not implement the arrangements, and it has no intention to do so, said Maleeh.

"Operators agreed to [bring down internet prices]. [The government] did not implement the changes as the minister [of Science and Technology] was not from main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP),' said Maleeh.

Maleeh was appointed as a cabinet minister on a slot assigned to ruing coalition partner, Jumhooree Party. He was removed as minister when the Parliament passed a no-confidence motion against him late February.