Money sent out of the Maldives decreased by 39 percent last year, according to government statistics published Monday.
The Maldives Monetary Authority said US$66.8 million dollars was wired as remittance in 2017, with 46 percent of it going to Bangladesh and most of the rest sent to India and Sri Lanka.
Expat workers accounted for 71 percent of the total outward remittance last year, down from 83 percent in 2016, and monthly figures showed a declining trend for outward remittances by foreigners.
“The continuous decline in outward remittance has been observed since the implementation of the expatriate remittance tax, which came into effect on 1 October 2016,” said the report.
The controversial remittance tax was one of a host of new revenue raising measures by the government.
Human rights advocates criticised it on the grounds that it would affect the poorest and most vulnerable group in Maldivian society.
Around 130,000 migrant workers are believed to live in the country, including 60,000 undocumented ones, the majority of whom are Bangladeshi and Indian men working in the construction sector.
NGOs raised their concerns about migrant worker labour rights in a statement on Labour Day, highlighting poor working conditions, lack of basic health services and the discrimination.
On this May Day, let's not forget the often abused, under/un-paid, slave-workers. Remember Muneerul Islam, Bassan, Shaheen Mia & Kazi Bilal? They were Bangladeshi workers murdered in the Maldives. One of them was murdered for not serving coffee during café closed hours
— Kullhavah Thadu 🌹 (@ithadu) May 1, 2018
Photo: Auf Majeed