The Ministry of Tourism has warned tourist resorts, hotels and guest houses with outstanding debts to settle at least 25 percent of unpaid rent and fines by July 20, 2011 or face the revoking of licenses.
According to a statement released by the ministry Thursday, operating licenses granted by the ministry will be revoked or withheld if the overdue amounts owed to the state were not paid in full during the next three months.
“If the monies owed by July 20, 2011 is not paid in the next three months from July 12, 2011, the cases [of non-payment of rent and fines] will be forwarded to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury,” the statement said.
It adds that the resorts, hotels and guest houses with unpaid rent and fines have been informed of the government’s decision.
Local media meanwhile reported that the tourism companies owed a total of US$20 million to the government.
Tourism Ministry Deputy Director General Hassan Zameer told Minivan News today that the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) was responsible for tax collection and would be calculating the figure owed as of July 20.
Zameer however confirmed that the rent and fines for non-payment were owed by a total of 10 resorts.
Asked if the ministry was receiving cooperation from the tourist businesses, Zameer said that it was “hard to say they’ve been cooperating because the measure we’ve taken was of the last resort.”
The businesses were given “a final warning” on July 5, he explained, after which the cabinet decided to give a 90-day notice as stipulated in the tourism laws.
MIRA has meanwhile sued six of the companies to recover outstanding rent and fines. The cases are ongoing at the Civil Court.
According to MIRA’s quarterly report for June, a total of Rf1.2 billion (US$93 million) was collected in the second quarter, 81 percent of which were dollar receipts.
Tourism land rent, tourism goods and services tax (TGST) and tourism tax represents 23 percent, 17 percent and 16 percent respectively of total revenue.
A total of Rf521.5 million (US$40.5 million) was collected as tax revenue in the month of June.