Fisheries Minister Ahmed Shiyam says though the last administration hiked the purchase price of fish to MVR 25, this government lowered it to MVR 20 to lessen the financial burdens of the government.
He said this while speaking at the Parliament today after he was summoned to the legislative house to answer questions from the MPs.
Answering a question from the MP for Dhandhoo Constituency Yauqoob Abdullah, Minister Shiyam said that the former administration hiked the purchase price for fish to gain political favor and that the change brought without any studies to back it.
The Minister noted that President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu pledged to never let the purchasing price of fish fall below MVR 20 with a view on the global fish market as well as with the thinking of reforming Maldives Industrial Fishing Company MIFCO.
Shiyam explained that a ton of fish sells for about USD 1,450 in the global market and that this was USD 22 per kilo. He also said that when the purchasing price was increased to MVR 25, the government sustained a loss of MVR 2.60 per kilo sold.
The Minister further said that if the government continued to purchase fish at MVR 25, it had to dole out MVR 1.1 billion as subsidies.
Shiyam said that MVR 250 was allocated as a fishing subsidy last year and when the previous government increased the purchasing price of fish to MVR, the subsidy ballooned to MVR 500 million.
He added that the government cannot manage to pay the subsidy of MVR 1.1 billion from its revenues.