Tuesday 5th Jul 2022
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Finance minister Ameer

Minister Ameer’s ever-evolving stance of China’s ‘debt trap'’

The biggest criticism from the then-opposition during the administration of President Abdullah Yameen, was the loans from China. The newly elected administration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, announced their stance on Chinese loans, a little while after assuming office.
Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer took the lead. While in New Delhi, India, the freshly appointed Finance Minister said the projects run under Chinese loans were at vastly higher prices than originally proposed. This was widely reported in international media.
In 2019, he also announced that the new administration would seek to restructure the loans and reduce the interest rates.
His stance seems to have softened. This week, in the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, Minister Ameer said that none of the loans taken from China were mortgaged loans. In the event of a default, he said the government would not have to sell of any assets.
He went on to add that any talk of restructuring loans would have a negative impact on the country. Such talks would denigrate investor confidence and would show the country was nearing default.
A financial expert, with clear knowledge on the issue, speaking on the condition of anonymity, reported to TMJ that Minister Ameer’s previous stance on Chinese investments, had negatively impacted the country. The expert has had experience in Finance Ministry and other financial institutions.
This administration, he said, had attempted to change the 2,500-housing unit project to fit their agenda, and as a result, the project had stalled. The project was first started in the previous administration, with all funding secured.
‘At the start of their term, they said whatever they saw fit, this is the result. When [Minister] Ameer says a person’s view is more damaging, it astounds me. Finance Minister should be more responsible than that,’ he said.
Minister Ameer had previously labelled the Male’ Hulhumale’ bridge a useless project and had claimed only a sliver was added to the GDP growth by the Yameen administration back in 2018.