President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the inaugural speech to the Parliament t highlighted on a number of key issues .
Such as vaccination against COVID-19, foreign currency supply, and the recovery of the economy in the aftermath of COVID-19 as well as the importance of the fishing industry, before announcing that for the first time, a non-resident ambassador to Palestine will be appointed within this year.
The President said that it could take around two years to fully rebuild the economy in light of COVID-19.
President Solih announced that the government had expended more than MVR 1 billion as loans to small and middle-income businesses, freelancers and even big businesses, contingent on the reservation that they secured the jobs of Maldivian employees at a time large-scale lay-offs were being adopted to minimize the economic impact of Covid-19 on enterprise finances. Also revealed that over the past year, the government had subsidized utilities such as electricity and water by more than MVR 117 million for the benefit of citizens struggling through the economic downturn resulting from Covid-19.
Policy change to tackle shortage of foreign currency
The government will also change the policies regarding foreign currency to overcome the shortage of foreign currency to Maldivians and the economy said the President.The President pointed to the difficulties faced in obtaining foreign currency during the pandemic which very much affected the economy and business.
President noted that the central bank of the Maldives in 2020, had increased the supply of foreign currency to the markets through banks on three occasions. However, this had not solved the issue entirely, said the President who stated his full determination to steady the rate of the Maldivian Rufiyaa, the flow of foreign currency in the economy, and the influx of foreign currency as well.
Non-Resident Ambassador to Palestine
President Solih in his speech also announced that he was aiming to appoint a non-resident ambassador to Palestine for the first time. The purpose of the appointment was to increase foreign relations and more non-resident ambassadors were to be appointed for the same purpose, said the President.
Vaccines are the way to go back to normal
The President in his speech implored the nation to receive vaccinations against the virus. He noted that the government had worked hard to protect the people and obtain vaccinations for the entire population, which was now guaranteed.The President assured that everyone in the eligible population to receive vaccinations would receive one without a charge and that everyone getting inoculated was the way to return to normalcy.
Development of five domestic airports
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has announced the government’s plans to develop five domestic airports this year. President Solih said the government remains committed to deliver on its promise of decentralizing the development of the country. In this regard, the main focus of the pledge is to connect the islands of the Maldives via an accessible transport network, said the president. While an airport has been opened in Ha. Hoarafushi under the efforts, five additional airports will be developed this year, said the president. This includes airports in M. Muli, Hdh. Makunudhoo, Sh.Bilehfahi, B. Thulhaadhoo and Th. Vilufushi,
Development of Thila-Male’ Bridge
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has announced that the construction of the Maldives’ second overwater bridge will commence during the next six months. The development of a bridges and causeways between Male’, Villimale’, Thilafushi and Gulhifalhu has been contracted to an Indian company under the Greater Male’ Connectivity Project. Three bridges will be constructed as part of the project.