To ease the difficulties faced by boat owners in repaying the loans they had taken from banks, the cabinet has decided to negotiate with banks on extending the repayment duration from six years to ten years. The cabinet made this decision at today’s cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Vice President Dr Waheed.

The decision was made after discussing the recommendations of the ministerial sub-committee that was appointed to explore the possibility of opening skipjack tuna industry for more investors.

The cabinet also decided to allocate from an ADB facility – which was to be dispersed by the Ministry of Economic Development – to small and medium fisheries businesses.

A further measure decided by the cabinet was to provide training on long-line fishing to local fishermen by overseas experts.

The cabinet also decided to discuss with contracted companies doing skipjack tuna processing to see the possibility of providing more opportunities for small and medium businesses.

The cabinet also discussed the participation of the Maldives in the Protocol on the Preferential Tariff Scheme Agreement for OIC countries. The cabinet decided to seek the approval of the People’s Majlis on this matter.

The agreement provides for tariff reduction from imports among participating countries.

The members of the cabinet highlighted that such an agreement will increase investor confidence in the Maldives.

In addition, at today’s cabinet meeting, the members also deliberated on a paper presented by the Ministry of Human Resources, Youth and Sports on declaring the age of youths to be between 15 and 35 years of age.

A ministerial sub-committee to discuss the matter was formed. The members of the committee are Minister of Human Resources, Youth and Sports, Uz Hassan Latheef; Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr Ibrahim Didi; and, Minister of Education, Dr Musthafa Luthfee.

Under the previous youth policy, the age of youth was declared to be between 18 and 35 years of age.

The members of the cabinet also discussed the issue of Mathikomandoo of Shaviyani Atoll. The government has been receiving requests from the people of Mathikomandoo to make the island as a separate ward of Komandoo. The cabinet decided to prepare a land use plan for Mathikomandoo and make Mathikomandoo as part of Komandoo.