Member of Parliament for the Maavashu constituency and the Vice President of People’s National Congress (PNC) Mohamed Saeed questioned the government’s decision to increase tax rates levied on goods and services from the people while months have gone by without payment to fishermen for their catches.
Saeed’s comments followed protests ongoing at the Maandhoo Fish Factory, led by fishermen from Thaa Atoll and Laamu Atoll, because of unpaid dues for their products.
The president of the L. Hithadhoo Council Ibrahim Shamoon, who was at Maandhoo with the fishermen, told TMJ that almost all fishermen from Thaa atoll and Laamu arrived to take part in the protests. According to the fishermen, collectively, they are owed millions after the government “bought” their product on credit.
Tweeting on the issue, Saeed stated that the concerns of fishermen have fallen on deaf ears and Laamu atoll fishermen have been complaining about the dues for weeks.
Fishermen have raised concerns and protested over not being paid for their catch as well as wastefulness due to under-purchasing during the fishing season. Moreover, each time fishermen voice their unmet needs, the government provides assurances of quick resolutions.
Saeed stated that while fishermen have gone three to four months without payment from Maandhoo, even now, Hithadhoo council president Shamoon with the fishermen are begging for their earnings.
Indicating the unfairness of the tax rate increase bill proposed by the government, Saeed questioned whether the people had to pay a larger tax while the government continues to deny fishermen their rightful earnings.
The tax bill proposed by the government attempts to raise Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Tourism Goods and Services Tax (TGST) rates from 6 percent and 12 percent to 8 percent and 16 percent, respectively, effective January 2023.
Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) has predicted that the increase in tax rates will directly result in the rise in inflation and cost of goods.