President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has today convened the National Taskforce on Resilience Building and Economic Recovery for its inaugural meeting. Discussions centered on the Taskforce’s ongoing work to help the Maldives recover from the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, which they shared with the President for his consideration.
To begin the meeting, the President gave short remarks, reiterating that the fundamental purpose of constituting this Taskforce is to help the Maldives emerge from the COVID-19 crisis a more resilient country. He remarked on the strides the Maldives has made in a short while, in terms of increasing its healthcare capacity and resources to combat the virus. He also welcomed how quickly the country has been able to reach a stage in which it can safely consider reopening borders.
He expressed his optimism that the country is now well-positioned to begin a strong economic recovery, while also acknowledging the many difficulties businesses and individuals have recently endured. In light of the State’s expected revenue this year being decreased by approximately one billion USD, the President stated that it is imperative that the budget is revised and that relevant stakeholders should research and propose means of increasing state income.
During the meeting, three subgroups within the Taskforce: the working group on finance; the working group on economic recovery; and the working group on the social sector, gave presentations relevant to their specific work. Each respective group elaborated upon the strategies they have devised and the work they are already doing to help the country make up its budgetary shortfalls, revive its economic activity and ensure that the health and social sectors are well-equipped to deal with future challenges.
The groups collectively outlined what a ‘new normal’ could entail as the country eases temporary restrictive measures, allows business activity to resume and prepares to reopen schools, in response to the continuing daily decrease of active COVID-19 cases. Additionally the Ministry of Tourism shared guidelines regarding how to safely restart the country’s Tourism Industry. At the meeting’s conclusion, the Taskforce indicated that major decisions regarding the suggestions presented by the working groups and the guidelines presented by the Ministry of Tourism will be announced at the next meeting.
The President thanked all the participants and expressed that combatting COVID-19 and rebuilding a more resilient Maldives is a collective national effort. He thanked the Taskforce for their ongoing efforts and encouraged them to continue to work alongside all branches of the government, as well as with state institutions, the private sector, and civil society, in order to finally put the pandemic behind us.