MANILA, PHILIPPINES - ADB Vice-President Liqun Jin ended a two-day visit to the Maldives today. During his trip, he held discussions with the President and senior Government officials, participated in a government briefing about the status of the tsunami recovery program, and visited ADB project sites.
The ADB Vice-President met with Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom; the ministers of Finance and Treasury, Qasim Ibrahim; Trade and Economic Development, Mohamed Jaleel; Planning, Hamdun Hameed; and Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources, Abdullah Kamaaludeen.
In his meetings, Mr. Jin noted the strong recovery of Maldives' tourism and fisheries industries since the tsunami, as well as the country's economic progress in the period leading up to the disaster.
He also stressed the importance of undertaking structural reforms, increasing revenues and rationalizing expenditures, the reform of state-owned enterprises, limiting economic subsidies to those still facing adversity due to the tsunami, and improving portfolio performance.
He added that these reforms are essential to lowering high and unsustainable levels of budget and the balance of payments and current account deficits, and to boosting economic growth back to pre-tsunami rates.
The Maldives was one of the worst affected countries by the tsunami disaster that struck in December 2004. Although the loss of life was comparatively small, the tsunami resulted in total damage of nearly $500 million, equivalent to some 62% of GDP.
ADB has approved $23.45 million in assistance - mostly grants - to rebuild transport, water supply/sanitation/solid waste management, power, agriculture and fisheries in the country following the disaster.
During his visit, Mr. Jin visited the ADB-assisted Post Secondary Education Project, and Male' North harbor, which is likely to be assisted under ADB's proposed Domestic Maritime Transport Project in 2007.