Despite the increase in tourist arrivals, there has been no increase in deposits for the Sovereign Development Fund (SDF).
Weekly figures published by the Ministry of Finance show that the government has deposited a total of MVR 214 million from January 1, 2021, to August 19, 2021. This is MVR 449 million less than the previous year.
What is the Sovereign Development Fund?
SDF was established by former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s government in 2017 to be used for economic recovery, loan repayment, and loan guarantee. It is obtained via Airport Development Charges (ADC) and other services of passengers at Velana International Airport (VIA). The fees are USD 25 for foreigners.
Reason for decrease in deposits unknown
The reason why the deposits have decreased remains unknown. While the deposits come from fees collected from passengers of VIA, tourism has notably improved compared to last year. 695,396 tourists have arrived in the Maldives by August 18. If USD 25 is taken from each traveler, MVR 238,158,430 must have been deposited to the SDF. Only 388,686 tourists visited the Maldives within the same duration last year.
It is assumed that the government is using the funds to be deposited to the SDF for other purposes. The government has previously used up all the dollars in the Sovereign Development Fund.