The State Electric Company (STELCO) has revealed that the Maldivian government owed MVR 543 million (US$35.2 million) in unpaid electricity bills as of last month.
According to STELCO, most of the money (MVR 281 million/US$18.2 million) is owned by assorted government offices, while Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) owes MVR 37 million (US$2.4 million) and the National Social Protection Agency (NSPA) owes MVR 224 (US$14.5 million).
The figures were revealed in a letter to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, and reported in Sun Online.
In the letter, the company complained that the government’s failure to pay was causing it cash flow problems and harming its ability to roll out projects.
The government has meanwhile sought parliament approval for an extension of its MVR 50 million overdraft with STELCO, prompting the committee to summon STELCO executives to explain the situation.
According to Sun, during the meeting today committee member and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ilyas Labeeb rejected the government’s request for further loans, and questioned why STELCO did not simply shut off the power to government buildings as it did with homeowners who failed to pay their bills.
STELCO, which is wholly owned by the government, is the country’s sole provider of electricity to major urban centres, such as Male’, and many inhabited islands.