Maldives has said its dependency on a single industry of tourism makes it among the most exposed and vulnerable countries in the world in wake of current COVID crisis.
In his opening statement at Online Summit level Meeting of Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group for COVID, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said, its middle-income country status is now in danger of changing to no-income country status due to sharp decline in revenue.
He said COVID-19 hit the Maldives several weeks before the first case was confirmed positive and global disruption in air travel and national preventive measures resulted in the complete closure of the tourism industry.
The Minister said, the government faces a revenue gap of 908 million US dollars, which is just below 50 per cent of the total revenue forecast for 2020. Noting that small and vulnerable economies like the Maldives will continue to face the lasting effects of COVID-19 well after the last patient recovers, the Minister said, a moratorium on debt must be extended to all developing countries. He said the efforts should also be made to address sovereign debt restructuring taking into account their longer-term sustainable development.
Meanwhile, the number of positive cases in the Maldives rose to 551 with 20 more persons tested positive yesterday. Over half of the cases are from Bangladesh, from where a large number of people are employed in the construction and tourism industry.
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Source URL: Google News