A financial development plan needs to be drawn up to strengthen financial sector: Economic Minister

Minister of Economic Development Ahmed Mohamed has said that a financial sector development plan needs to be put in place by the regulatory institutions in the sector in cooperation with the government, in order to strengthen and expedite development in the financial sector of the Maldives.

Ahmed Mohamed said this while speaking at a function held last night by Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) to recognise the services provided by personnel in the financial sector. He said that several efforts have to be made, including increasing awareness, to develop the financial sector.

“In order to develop the financial sector we have to increase awareness in relation to the sector and expand financial services to the atolls. Steps to be taken to eliminate the dollar black market need to be identified, and they have to be implemented. An alternative dispute resolution mechanism needs to be established to resolve disputes related to the financial sector outside of court. Several other programs also need to be conducted such as introducing laws and regulations required by the sector, and efforts have to be made to increase public confidence in the financial sector,” Ahmed Mohamed said.

He further highlighted that work needs to be done to increase the deposit and investment of money in the financial sector, to increase opportunities for foreign investors in the Maldives, to increase opportunities for Maldivian financial institutions to invest abroad, to establish an SMB bank for small- and medium-sized firms, to introduce a banking scheme for small- and medium-sized firms, and to enhance trade in the Maldivian stock market.

He said that the plan should include ways to encourage trade of shares of public companies, to introduce Islamic financing services at a broader scope, to make the Maldives a centre for offshore financial services, to introduce fund management services, and to utilise the pension fund in a better way than is done today.

Ahmed Mohamed said that the development of the financial sector and the expansion of financial services are basic requirements to ensure economic development and self-sufficiency.

He stressed the importance of banking services, savings, investments, insurance services, and debt and equity finance services in ensuring protection during financially challenging times. He said that these services would also assist in starting new businesses, expanding small businesses and establishing a competitive business environment.

Ahmed Mohamed said that assets such as the education and experiences of small- and medium-sized businesses should be put to good use in their start-up phase, and that the financial sector and services need to be expanded to facilitate more income opportunities in order to increase the speed of national development.