The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is against the government’s plans to reintroduce the tourism bed tax and hike the Tourism Goods and Services Tax (T-GST) from eight to 12 percent, parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said.
“We won’t agree to double taxation in tourism industry,” he was quoted as saying by newspaper Haveeru.
Solih told local media that the MDP was also against raising import duties. A parliamentary group meeting will be held to decide the party’s stance on the government’s bills, he said.
An extraordinary sitting of parliament has meanwhile been scheduled for tomorrow – during the ongoing two-month recess – to debate government-sponsored legislation to raise the T-GST and amend the Tourism Act.
Amendments to the tourism law are intended to revive the discontinued flat US$8 bed tax and require resort lease extensions to be paid as a lump sum.
Following the Majlis’s failure to extend the tourism bed tax before the end of last year, Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad told local media that the resulting losses to state revenue would be MVR100 million a month.
Among other revenue raising measures proposed by the government include revising import duties, raising airport departure charge for foreign passengers from US$18 to US$25, leasing 12 islands for resort development, and introducing GST for telecommunication services.
In December, parliament passed a record MVR17.5 billion (US$1.16 billion) budget for 2014, prompting President Abdulla Yameen to call on the legislature to approve the revenue raising measures, which the government contends are necessary to finance development projects.