The ferry services provided by the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) throughout the country run at a loss, according to MTCC CEO Adam Azim.
Azim said this during a press conference regarding its performance in the past quarter in response to a question posed by The Maldives Journal. Azim said that although MTCC's ferry services as a loss, it was compensated by subsidies from the government.
Government subsidies were now reliable, said Azim, and allowed ferry services to be provided sustainably.
"We get direct subsidies now", he said, "The current system has it such that the losses incurred are addressed directly from the State budget".
Therefore, he said, the MTCC's prime responsibility was to provide a good quality service, managing it, and ensuring its continuity. The promise of the government is that it would not assign the company with any task that would put it at a loss, said Azim.
While the MTCC provides many regions in the country with ferry services, most regional services run at a loss. The MTCC initiated ferry services to Faafu, Meemu, and Daalu atolls in 2019. The former President Mohamed Nasheed had assigned the assigned the provision of ferry services to a private company, Vermillion International Pvt Ltd. The company owned by MP Ahmed Haleem (Bileiydhdhoo) who had represented the MDP in the Majlis. In exchange for the ferry routes, the Nasheed administration had granted Vermillion International two islands for resort development without a bidding process. No acquisition cost had been taken by the government for either of the two islands.
Both islands currently have fully-operational resorts; St. Regis (Dh. Vohmuli) and aaaVee Nature's Paradise (Dhoores).
Vermillion had ceased providing ferry services to the assigned atolls in 2019, and the government assigned the atolls to the MTCC. The Maldives Journal has learned that MTCC spends MVR 420,000 every month on providing ferry services to the three atolls.
"We spend MVR 420,000 a month to provide services to these three atolls," said an official on the condition of anonymity. "MTCC does not get the kind of revenue it used to get. The ferry services charge MVR 20 per passenger, but this cannot cover the salary of a single staff on the ferry. The government promised to subsidize MTCC, but it hasn't happened yet".