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News in brief: tax revenue and new broadcasting commissioners

The president nominated six individuals for the broadcasting regulator.



Tax revenue declined in October

Revenue of MVR928 million (US$60 million) collected by the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority in October was 10 percent lower than the same period last year.

Revenue was 6.8 percent above forecasts but proceeds from goods and services tax, business profit tax and green tax “declined significantly due to observed non-payment by deadline from taxpayers,” MIRA explained in its monthly report.

“Additionally, one-off payments were received towards Land Acquisition and Conversion Fee in October 2018, whereas only subsequent payments were received in October 2019. Similarly, major tax revenues decreased in comparison to projection. However, due to the receipt of late payments of Tourism Land Rent from past deadlines, which was not accounted for in projection, Octoberʼs revenue is higher than forecasted revenue for the month.”

Reflecting strong growth in tourist arrivals, T-GST revenue reached MVR4 billion in October, up from MVR3.8 billion last year. The government expects to reach its annual target of 1.5 million visitors by the end of November, Tourism Minister Ali Waheed told the press on Tuesday.

Nominees for broadcasting commission sent to committee

Mariyam Waheedha, Ameena and Imrana (Photo from PSM)

Parliament’s independent institutions committee on Tuesday was tasked with vetting six individuals nominated by the president for two vacant seats on the Maldives Broadcasting Commission.

The ruling party-controlled parliament sacked former MBC vice president Fathmath Zaina last month and former MBC president Mohamed Shaheeb resigned after an impeachment vote was tabled.

The replacement candidates will be put to a vote after evaluation by the oversight committee. The four individuals nominated for MBC president in order of preference were Mariyam Waheedha, Aminath Ameena, Imrana Binth Abdulla and Aishath Dhiyana Thohir. In order of preference, the three individuals nominated for MBC vice president were Imrana Binth Abdulla, Hassan Irufan and Dr Ibrahim Shiyam.

The independent institutions committee is also interviewing candidates to replace former members Hassan Nabah and Ismail Sofwan, both of whom resigned earlier this year.

Dengue on the rise

Some 4,505 cases of dengue have been reported so far this year, the Health Protection Agency revealed on Tuesday, warning of a spike compared to the past two years.

Some 368 cases of the mosquito-borne disease were reported last month, up from 343 in September. The highest number was reported from Malé and the capital suburb Hulhumalé followed by Shaviyani, Noonu and Laamu atolls.

A total of 1,460 cases of chikungunya have also been reported as of October but the number of cases have drastically fallen from a peak of 328 cases in May to just seven last month.

The HPA also warned of the spread of influenza after a higher proportion of patients tested positive for the virus in the first week of November. The agency advised the public to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Maldivian convicted of forcing Kenyan into prostitution

A Maldivian man was found guilty last month of forcing a Kenyan woman into prostitution and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Moosa Munthasim, from Seenu Hithadhoo, was accused of bring the woman to the Maldives under false pretences in December 2016, confiscating her passport and forcing her into prostitution at the ‘One and All’ hotel in Malé.

But the judge ruled there was not enough evidence to convict Munthasim on separate charges of human trafficking.

Police stop illegal sand mining

A group of people were caught illegally mining sand from the uninhabited island of Gunaafaru in Shaviyani atoll on Tuesday.

Acting on a tip off from the Kanditheemu island council, police officers caught the group in the act, emptied the sacks of sand and “sent them away from the area,” police said.

New parking zone opened on Sosun Magu

Photo from Mihaaru

The Malé City Council opened a new parking zone in a vacant plot on Sosun Magu on Monday with the capacity for 279 motorcycles.

As part of efforts to alleviate traffic congestion in the overcrowded capital island, the city council plans to clear more spaces and develop parking buildings whilst a minibus service is expected to be introduced next year. There is one motorcycle for every two residents of the capital, police officials told a parliamentary committee last month, advising that a long-term solution to traffic congestion and lack of parking spaces would need to be found before introducing public transport.

Foul play ruled out in teenager’s suicide

Police have ruled out foul play in the apparent suicide of a teenager who was found hanging in his home in Malé on Monday.

A forensic pathologist found no sign of injury caused by another person, police said. Despite media reports to the contrary, the family of the deceased told the police that they have not shared suspicions of wrongdoing with the press. Police advised the media to verify the identity of people claiming to be relatives.

Information about suicide cases are not shared with the media because reporting has been found to lead to an increase in cases.

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