President’s Office says China has deferred part of the debt the Maldives owes to the country until next year.

Speaking to ‘The Press’, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Hood said the Chinese government had granted a debt deferment to some of the loans it had issued to the Maldives until the middle of next year.

He said that the Chinese government offered the payment delay to the loans it had issued under the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative.

This means the Maldivian has to pay back these loans after the first six months of next year.

The Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) was originally announced in April during the early days of the pandemic in Europe.

It offered a temporary suspension of "official sector" or government-to-government debt payments to 73 countries but drew criticism from some campaigners who claimed it did not go far enough in alleviating the financial burden of the pandemic on poorer nations.

The President’s Office announcement came as Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed said earlier today that the country’s debt repayments next year will amount to 53 percent of government revenue. In a tweet, he said that over 80 percent of debt repayments will go to China and that it is totally unaffordable.

Bizarrely, the Speaker went on to say that even if the country sold their grandmother’s jewelry, the country won’t be able to afford these repayments.