MP Mohamed Saeed has criticized the Government’s decision to issue a refund for penalties paid by resorts.
The Government had instructed Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) to refund US$ 2 million or MVR 30.8 million.
Under an amendment to the regulations on tourism lease rent, the penalty rate has been reduced from 0.5 per cent per day to 0.0493 per cent per day. In case there is a delay in lease rent payment, the fines will now be levied at the rate of 0.0493 per cent per day on the amount of lease rent outstanding – causing a sizeable difference in the amounts payable.
A subsequent amendment compels the government to refund resorts if they had paid 0.5 per cent instead of 0.0493 per cent. An amendment in February 2022, grants the government discretion to forgo penalties entirely for resorts in operation.
Saeed, who now serves as Maavashu Constituency Member of Parliament, said that this administration had two forms of penalties. The first was penalizing the youth by means of violation stickers and the second being penalties paid by resorts.
Violation sticker penalties has netted MVR 145 million (US$ 9.4 million) so far this year.
Saeed added that out of the two the Government found it much easier to forgive the penalties given to resorts and their owners, even if it meant changing the law to do so.