President Dr Mohamed Muizzu has implemented a revised investment threshold for Special Economic Zones (SEZs), setting a new minimum investment amount at USD 100 million (MVR 1.5 billion).
This adjustment amends the previous decree former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom set on January 31, 2018.
The updated requirements explicitly states that participation in an SEZ now requires a minimum investment of USD 100 million, in contrast to the earlier threshold of USD 150 million (MVR 2.3 billion) established by Yameen’s administration.
While the investment criteria have undergone a reduction, there have been limited changes to the types of businesses eligible for SEZ investment. Notably, the revised resolution has broadened the scope of activities related to food security. The Maldives has lifted the ban on SEZ investments for oil and gas, specifying exclusivity to gas exploration activities.
Businesses eligible for SEZ investment include manufacturing activities, transhipment ports, international logistics, universities, hospitals, research and development facilities, information communication technology (ICT) parks, international financial services, renewable energy, and gas exploration.
A notable omission from the previous resolution is the clause emphasising the priority of investments shared by locals within SEZs. This change signifies a departure from the earlier emphasis on local participation in SEZ ventures.