Statistics released by the Ministry of Finance reveals that by the end of last year, Maldives’ publicly guaranteed debt rose to MVR 86.5 billion. This equates to 149 percent of the country’s GDP.
According to the data, the total debt figure of MVR 86.5 billion includes MVR 44 billion in domestic debt and MVR 42.5 billion in external debt.
Records show that Maldives’ debt rose from MVR 48.6 billion by the end of 2018 to MVR 67.9 billion by the end of 2019, and proceeded to rise to a staggering MVR 86.5 billion by the end of 2020. This is mainly attributed to loans taken out by the government to cover COVID-19 related expenditure.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused severe disruptions to the Maldivian economy, and the country’s main driver, the tourism industry was hit especially hard due to global restrictions on travel and movement. The government of Maldives consequently took out multiple loans to ensure continuity of public services, and also overdrew MVR 4 billion from the central bank.