Business Politics

MPs: Neighborhood fish factory plan similar to local tourism policy

The resolution submitted by Thoddoo MP Mr Hassan Shiyan to create fish canning factories in every island of the country that operates with the collaboration of the councils and citizens has garnered support by numerous members of the parliament. The MPs noted that the Maldives has not gained the true benefits that can be gained from the fishing industry and thus creating fish plants or factories in different areas of the country is the way to do it.

The strategy proposed the government to take four main measures, they are:

1)    Identify the machinery, technology, and equipment that will be needed to establish neighbourhood fish plants and factories.

2)    Set out ways to lease lands for the factories

3)    Ways in which the island or city council can be involved in the operations of the factory

4)    Providing the opportunity to open and establish these factories that would buy and process fish from Maldivian fishermen.

The bill was supported by Kanditheemu MP Abdul Shaheem Abdul Hakeem, who stated that this would bring a lot of advantages to the people while in their island and if a way of selling the finished products made from the fish to other countries can be established, it reduces the price of fish for Maldivians as well. MP Shaheem also replied to the critics of the plan by stating that introducing something this beneficial to the common people can be worrying to some major businessmen in the country. MP Shiyan from Thoddoo who originally proposed the plan supported that statement by stating that this policy was equivalent to the local tourism policy which at first challenged a lot of resort owners.

Kendhikulhudhoo MP Ahmed Easa stated that the government must support new types of businesses. He also reminded those opposed the fish factory plan of the time when the former MDP administration was ridiculed for supporting the development of guesthouse businesses, to take a look at the now thriving guesthouse sector.

Ungoofaaru MP Mohamed Waheed supported the bill by saying that it would create a lot of new jobs. Waheed also stated that nearly 420 metric tons of fish products and 345 metric tons of reef fish products were imported into the country last year. These products are created from Maldivian fish and are imported into the country at a huge cost, costs that could be turned into profits for the country. The way to do this was through the neighbourhood fish factory policies, according to MP Waheed

The policy saw opposition from Kaashidhoo MP Abdulla Jabir who voiced his concern that it was a policy that was not researched and proposed by people who have not checked the international regulations to run such a project. MP Jabir also said that it was not possible to build a factory in every household and it was just a mere ploy to win votes.

The proposal for the neighbourhood fish factory policy will establish one factory on every island and will be operated by both the people and the council. The finished products created from these factories will be sold overseas and visiting tourists.

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