Parliamentary committee seeks to sustain utilities despite unpaid bills

Parliamentary committee seeks to sustain utilities despite unpaid bills

Parliamentary Committee on State-Owned Enterprises (SOE), on Thursday, proposed measures to ensure utilities for the public, even if bills are not paid on time, amidst the difficult situation posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report submitted by the SOE Committee requested that State Electric Company (STELCO), Fenaka Corporation Limited and Maldives Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) continue services although some customers are expected to fail in making their usual payments during this time.

The proposal also requested state-run companies to reduce the rent on land leased from capital Male' and reclaimed suburb Hulhumale' for the next six months.

Moreover, the committee proposed to completely deny granting the economic recovery loans that were introduced by Bank of Maldives (BML) and are worth USD 20 million, to companies that are presently terminating their employees.

The report also suggested granting separate capital loans for businesses that generate an income lower than MVR 10 million.

In addition to the aforementioned submissions, the committee proposed a list of special measures for employees of state-owned enterprise that included pay cuts, a cap on introducing any new allowances as well as deducting the allocated amount from employees in companies that had violated the order by the Privatisation Board to reduce 20 percent of the salary for the Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director positions.

The SOE committee also requested to dissolve government companies with no productivity, halt any operations carried out by companies outside of their mandate and request for a moratorium on loans taken by such companies from foreign banks.

Prior to these proposals, the state previously decided on subsidising a certain percentage of electric and water bills, due to the economic recession set in motion by the COVID-19 pandemic.