Abdul Raheem speaks to the media outside MMA.Photo/PPM

Governor kept in dark over Indian loan specifics: Opposition

The opposition has demanded that the Governor step down from the post.

15 December 2022

By Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim

The government has not shared with Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) Governor Ali Hashim the details of India's latest loan of $100 million to the Maldives earlier this month as budgetary support and it is a matter of concern that the central bank (MMA) is not aware of it, opposition said on Thursday.

The opposition PPM/PNC leadership on Thursday met the MMA governor to share their concerns about the economic situation in the country.

Speaking to reporters outside MMA after the meeting, PNC president Abdul Raheem Abdulla said that during his short sitting with the governor, it was confirmed that the opposition's complaints about the country's economy were genuine.

"There are even bigger concerns about the state of the economy," he said.

"I had to leave because I was more worried than I was when I got here. The governor could not make a statement that would address our concerns about the country's economy. What was even more worrisome was the interest rate on these loans taken by the Indian government and none of it directly known to the governor himself."

Abdul Raheem said that the central bank governor's lack of knowledge about the government's cash transactions was a cause for concern for the people. The opposition has demanded that the governor step down from the post as the government has failed to provide the required information and is preventing him from discharging his duties.

"The governor only said that we can hold on for the next 20 days. Then said that he has a lot of concerns about the budget," Abdul Raheem said.

Concerns raised by the opposition in the meeting include:

  • The fear of depleting reserves and no money to buy staple foods

  • Agreements with India will have a cascading effect on the country's economy

  • Not getting dollars at bank rates

Speaking at the press conference, PNC Vice President and Maavashu MP Mohamed Saeed said that when asked at the meeting what was the interest rate on the $100 million loan, the fovernor said he was not even aware of it. Saeed also claimed that Ali Hashim had said that the government had not provided the information when he asked the governor about the loan repayment period.

"What is the purpose of this bank till now... The interest rate of $100 million has been kept secret to the bank," said Saeed, who served as economic minister in former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's government.

Saeed said that things have gone so far that it has "tarnished the image of the state". 

"The Indian ambassador, the finance minister and [foreign minister] Abdulla Shahid are acting as if only they are the economy of the country, the central bank of the country, the financial system of the country," Saeed said, taking a dig at the government.

The government has not shared the information with media so far, even after the opposition has claimed that it has not shared information about India's loan with MMA.