March revenue falls 8.2% below forecasts

March revenue falls 8.2% below forecasts
April 14 14:21 2016

Maldives revenues fell 8.2 percent below forecasts in March because of non-payment of taxes and a drop in tourist arrivals, the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority has said.

MIRA collected MVR1.10billion (US$71million) last month, a 13.7 percent drop as compared to the same month last year. In its monthly revenue report, MIRA said 32 taxpayers did not pay their tourism land rent payment.

Tourist arrivals meanwhile were 1.9percent lower than expected, resulting in a lower than expected tourism related revenues.

The tourism ministry has not published statistics on tourist arrivals for March yet.

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February and January, however, saw record revenues, off the back of a sharp increase in tourist arrivals. MIRA collected MVR1.71billion (US$110million) in January and some MVR1.51billion (US$97million) in January.

Total revenues for this years first quarter stood at MVR4.3billion (US$278million).

President Abdulla Yameen’s administration hopes to raise MVR21.5billion in revenue this year.

The opposition says the revenue projections are unrealistic, noting that US$100million expected as acquisition costs for Special Economic Zones had not materialised the year before.

With expenses at MVR27.5billion, the fiscal deficit is projected to stand at MVR3.4billion or six percent of GDP.

The central bank Maldives Monetary Authority expects economic growth to pick up this year, from 4.8percent in 2015 to to 6.4 percent.

Growth will be driven by construction sector growth because of large infrastructure projects such as a bridge connecting the capital Malé to the airport island and airport expansion, the MMA said.

The government has also launched a campaign to attract 1.5million tourists this year. The Maldives hosted the international trade and tourism fair ITB in Berlin.