The State Trading Organization (STO) has launched a campaign to cut operational costs by MVR 50 million in 2014 (US$ 3,242,542).
The state-owned STO is the country’s primary wholesaler, responsible for bringing in the vast majority of basic foodstuffs such as rice and flour, as well as other imported commodities such as electrical goods.
It also imports the vast majority of the Maldives’ oil, used to fuel fishing and transport vessels, diesel generators, air-conditioners and water desalination plants.
The company’s chairman Ahmed Niyaz inaugurated the “Save 50 million” and a second campaign “Saafu STO” (Clean STO) at a ceremony held in front of the company’s headquarters this morning.
The Saafu STO campaign intends to encourage cleanliness, a pleasant work environment and efficient resource utilization, STO’s media official Ismail Sodiq told Minivan News.
Speaking at the ceremony STO’s new managing director Adam Azim called on staff to be ethical in using the company’s resources.
“It is my wish that everyone is loyal to STO, and be ethical in using STO’s resources. A place without ethics does not have progress or life. If we are ethical, it is not 50 million that we save, I am certain we can save more than 100 million in 2014,” he said.
“Our Maldives is very dirty. And STO has become very dirty. So we all have to unite and bring out the new STO culture to the streets. From the streets we will take [the culture] to the houses and be more determined to clean things up,” he added.
Meanwhile, Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed said all businesses must take STO’s new campaigns as examples.
In November, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom said STO is bankrupt.
“Not only does STO not have dollars, it does not have Maldivian Rufiyaa either. Funding the oil import through STO is now a burden for the state,” he said.
“I checked today where STO is now. By the time I left STO, the company had developed many commercial projects and STO was making MVR 154 million in profit. Today, STO is bankrupt. I am telling you, it is bankrupt. STO does not have money,” said Yameen, who chaired the organisation during the rule of his half-brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.