Fishermen to get MVR 70m within 48 hours, another MVR 30m on Mon

Fish market area in Male' City on May 22, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Fishermen will be disbursed MVR 70 million in outstanding payments on Wednesday and Thursday, and an additional MVR 30 million on Monday, according to the Fisheries Ministry.

The announcement comes a day after Fisheries Minister Ahmed Shiyam told the Parliament that MVR 100 million in outstanding dues would be disbursed by Monday.

According to Shiyam, the new administration has disbursed MVR 435 million in outstanding payments to fishermen since it took office in November 2023. He said the administration will settle the remaining MVR 280 million in dues within the next two weeks; MVR 100 million by Monday, and the rest by March 5.

Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) states that it has begun disbursing payments.

The delay in the disbursement of payments prompted fishermen to launch a strike at the MIFCO fisheries complex in GA. Koodoo on Sunday. Shiyam travelled to Kooddoo in an attempt to appease the fishermen. However, they demanded his resignation and threated to continue the strike until they receive their payments in full.

Shiyam has repeatedly blamed the former administration’s huge backlog for the delay in settling the dues.

According to him, the new administration inherited a backlog of MVR 250 million in outstanding dues to fishermen when it took office.

Shiyam has also blasted the decision by the MDP administration to increase the fish purchase rate from MVR 17 to MVR 25 in September 2023, which he said resulted in major financial losses to MIFCO. He called the move “unresearched” and a “political trick” to win votes in the presidential elections.

The new administration reduced the rate to MVR 20 on February 11.

Shiyam said that even with the new rate, MIFCO is purchasing fish at a loss of MVR 6 per kilo.

He has stated that the administration is working on establishing mechanism to disburse payments to fishermen within 48 hours, as pledged by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu during his presidential campaign.