MPL to Accept US Dollars for Payments from April

Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) will accept payments in US dollars for services provided to vessels at the Male’ Commercial Harbour beginning in April, according to CEO Mohamed Wajeeh Ibrahim.

During a press conference, Wajeeh explained that consignees currently pay shipping agents in dollars, but agents then pay MPL in the local currency, the Maldivian Rufiya. He stated that MPL has decided to change this practice.

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Wajeeh alleged that shipping agents often exchange dollars on the black market at rates of MVR 17 or MVR 18, but pay MPL at the official bank rate of MVR 15.42. “We are talking about USD 30 million annually. This is something that needs doing,” Wajeeh said.

Consignees must pay carriers in US dollars. If they pay in Rufiya, importers face a 20 per cent surcharge, an arrangement Wajeeh described as unfair. He noted that the airport also accepts fees from carriers in dollars, justifying MPL’s adoption of the same approach.

He stressed that the change will not affect prices of goods imported into the Maldives, as it’s not related to payments made by importers themselves.

MPL accepted dollar payments until 2008 when a change in policy saw them shift to accepting Maldivian Rufiya.

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