Parliament accepts motion for COVID-19 free zones of Maldives

Parliamentarians wear masks to protect from the spread of the new coronavirus as they attend a sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

The Parliament has accepted a motion to designate certain areas of the country as COVID-19 free zones and open up the Maldives to resolve the economic challenges posed to the country due to the pandemic.

The motion was accepted with the vote of 62 MPs and has now been forwarded to the Economic Committee to be analyzed.

It was submitted by Central Hithadhoo MP Ahmed Rasheed. It reads that the economic activities including the tourism industry, for which 85 percent of the economy is dependent upon, are at a complete halt due to COVID-19. The motion called to designate international airports in other areas of the country as COVID-19 free zones and re-open for international flights. 

He called for the promotion of Addu and Huvadhu Atoll for safe tourism after reopening the Gan International Airport in the south. The same was called for the Hanimaadhoo International Airport in the north, under the motion.

International shipping vessels should also be arranged to dock at Addu and Kulhudhuffushi port complexes other than the main port in Male’ City, under the motion. The motion read that the number of go-downs in these locations owned by state-owned enterprises and private companies would increase as a result.

The motion then called for the development of fish processing factories across the nation and the increase in the capacities of these factories. The previously neglected agricultural industry should also be given a massive focus, read the motion. 

Based on all these, three areas of the country are proposed to be opened up, under the motion.