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European farmers stage new protests over heavy EU regulations, cheap imports

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ROME/WARSAW, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — Farmers in Italy, Poland, Spain and Bulgaria have staged new protests this week against excessively restrictive European Union regulations and cheap imports from non-EU countries.

In Italy on Friday, a convoy of tractors drove past the historical center of Rome, bearing national flags and slogans such as “Without farmers: no food, no future” and “End payment for not growing crops.”

“We have our priorities and we have followed the rules, and now we expect our priorities to be taken seriously by the authorities,” Salvatore Fais, leader of Agricultural Redemption, the organizer of the protest, told Xinhua.

Hours later, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni met with farmer representatives and announced that personal income tax exemptions would be extended to those with an annual income of up to 10,000 euros (10,800 U.S. dollars).

In Poland, farmers also took to the streets on Friday, blocking off roads and the border crossings with Ukraine, in protest against EU farming policies and cheap imports from Ukraine.

The demonstration is planned to last for 30 days. Poland’s Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Czeslaw Siekierski said he would support the implementation of a “complete” import ban on product categories if necessary.

He mentioned sugar and poultry as potential targets due to concerns about the excessive influx of such products from Ukraine.

Friday is the fourth day of protests by Spanish farmers, who have been blocking several streets, highways and ports across the country and announced plans to gather in Madrid. A convoy of tractors bearing Spanish flags disrupted the traffic on the A-2 highway to Madrid near the central town of Torija during the daytime.

Spanish media reported that the farmers railed against the EU’s environmental rules and what they called as excessive taxes and red tape.

On Thursday morning, Bulgarian farmers’ protests blocked the outbound traffic at the Giurgiu Border Crossing Point on the Romania side. The blockade lasted approximately four hours, according to the Giurgiu Border Police Territorial Inspectorate.

According to Bulgaria media, the nationwide demonstrations by farmers and agricultural workers in Bulgaria started on Tuesday and stemmed from concerns over cheap imports from Ukraine.

Farmers have staged demonstrations across Europe in recent weeks to protest against low produce prices, rising costs, cheap imports and constraints linked to the EU’s policies against climate change. They are demanding action by the authorities.

The European Commission has made some concessions over the last few weeks, including withdrawing plans to halve the use of pesticides and other dangerous substances. Nonetheless, the protests have continued.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Economy thrives, projects speed ahead despite challenges

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Before President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu assumed office, the economic condition of the Maldives was significantly deteriorating. Experts attribute the primary reason for the depreciation of the Maldivian currency to the excessive printing of money by the previous administration.

According to statistics from the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), more than USD 518.04 million was printed over the last three consecutive years, marking a historic high compared to USD 388.53 million printed over 40 years.

Additionally, upon assuming office, President Muizzu inherited a heavy debt burden. The total debt amounted to over USD 7.71 billion, with a significant portion owed to companies for upcoming parliamentary elections and previously initiated projects, totaling USD 584.88 million.

Despite these challenges, President Muizzu has been proactive in rejuvenating the Maldives’ economic status. Within three months of his tenure, USD 35 million has been deposited into the sovereign development fund. The President estimates that more than USD 100 million will be deposited into the fund by the end of the year.

discontinuation of printing money has been regarded as a pivotal step towards economic progression for the Maldives

President Muizzu’s commitment to revitalizing the Maldivian economy without resorting to the printing of money is indeed a significant pledge. By discontinuing the practice of printing money, the government aims to address economic challenges while ensuring fiscal responsibility and long-term sustainability.

The decision to immediately halt the printing of money upon assuming office underscores President Muizzu’s determination to prioritize sound monetary policy. This move reflects an acknowledgment of the risks associated with excessive money printing, including inflation and currency devaluation, and signals a commitment to addressing these challenges through prudent financial management.

Furthermore, President Muizzu’s plans to boost the country’s prosperity and income by reducing reliance on loans and settling debts owed to both foreign and domestic entities demonstrate a holistic approach to economic revitalization.

attracting a vast pool of investors

The efforts of the present administration to attract a wide range of investors reflect a strategic approach to addressing the significant development needs of the Maldives. By engaging in investment forums both domestically and abroad, the government has been successful in showcasing the diverse investment opportunities available in the country.

The decision to host investment forums in countries like China and the UAE demonstrates a proactive approach to international investment promotion. These forums serve as platforms for highlighting the potential for investment in key sectors such as infrastructure, tourism, and hospitality. By creating awareness about these opportunities, the government aims to attract investors who are interested in contributing to the development of critical projects, including the establishment of bridges, domestic airports, and resorts.

Over 500 projects underway

The continuation of 527 projects, including those that faced interruptions due to non-payment to companies during the government transition, underscores the commitment of President Muizzu’s administration to ensure continuity and progress in ongoing initiatives. Despite the challenges encountered, efforts have been made to address issues such as delayed payments and optimize project expenses to keep important projects on track.

It’s notable that the current year’s budget, initially approved by the prior administration, may not have fully aligned with President Muizzu’s priorities and rules for project implementation. This misalignment may have resulted in some projects not receiving adequate budget allocations or not being included in the budget at all. However, the administration has taken steps to optimize expenses and prioritize projects that align with President Muizzu’s vision for development

Initiatives to enhance economic growth and foster sustainable growth

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recognized President Muizzu’s initiatives as some of the strongest implementations seen among world leaders, emphasizing their potential for substantial progression. The IMF applauded the government’s decision not to overdraw the government’s account and expressed its readiness to provide any assistance needed. This endorsement from the IMF underscores the effectiveness of President Muizzu’s economic policies and strategies.

Additionally, the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industries has voiced support for the government’s initiatives, recognizing them as favorable for the Maldivian future as a growing economy. Despite challenges such as a shortage of dollars for small businesses, the Chamber remains optimistic that the government’s decisive actions will lead to economic growth and stability in the value of the dollar.

The government has projected a 5.5 percent economic growth rate for this year, indicating confidence in the trajectory of the economy under President Muizzu’s leadership. Furthermore, President Muizzu revealed a significant reduction in the country’s primary debt balance, from USD 103.61 billion last year to USD 8.68 million in the current year. This reduction in debt, achieved within just four months, demonstrates the government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and its ability to effectively manage the country’s finances.

Overall, these developments indicate that the government’s economic rejuvenation efforts have been successful, earning the confidence of global financial institutions in the Maldives’ future economic prospects.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Council to issue 14 plots in Hanimaadhoo for tourism development

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Haa Dhaalu atoll Hanimaadhoo island council has announced a 50-year lease on 14 plots from the island for tourism development purposes.

In the announcement put on gazette by the council, it has opened bid opportunity for interested bidders to lease the plots from Hanimaadhoo’s tourism zone.

The council has announced lease of 5,000 square feet plots for a 50-year lease period, for which interested proponents are required to register for the bids before 13:00hrs on April 30th, 2024.

For proponents wishing to mail the bid registration form, they can mail it to info@hanimaadhoo.gov.mv.

Proponents must furnish a bid registration, non-refundable, fee of MVR 1,000 for the 5,000 square feet plots. If proponents wish to acquire more than one plot, then they must pay MVR 1,000 per plot.

If the council annuls the announcement, it said the registration fees will be refunded to the proponents, and added the proponents will receive bid books upon registration.

Bid acceptance and opening are scheduled for April 30th, 2024 as well.

While the Hanimaadhoo International Airport is under an expansion project, the island has been putting efforts to increase its local tourism activities as well.

During his last month visit to Hanimaadhoo, President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu said the airport’s expansion will contribute towards increased tourism activity in the island.

He also said sustainable development cannot be achieved without individual development of key regions which include Hanimaadhoo as well.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Maldives signs with Chinese firm for Laamu Integrated Maritime Hub Project

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Agreements pertaining to the Laamu Integrated Maritime Hub Project have been signed with a Chinese company, aiming to accomplish the commitments made by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. The contract laying groundworks for this transformative endeavor was signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) Mohamed Wajeeh and the General Manager of CAMC Engineering Li Wei Wei.

Outlined within the agreement are details of six subprojects:

  • Launching offshore bunkering services
  • Developing a cruise terminal
  • Establishing a super yacht marina
  • Developing Gaadhoo as an Eco-resort
  • Establishing a facility to store regionally produced food items
  • Building a transshipment port

Providing insight into the developmental project, CEO Wajeeh underscored MPL’s ongoing efforts to secure a relevant market. He envisioned attracting international shipping lines to the transshipment port, anticipating a significant economic boost from even a single shipping line. Discussions are also underway with cruise operators to initiate cruise terminal operations.

MPL disclosed proposals from two companies to assist in providing bunkering services. While Vitol Bunkering, currently involved in developing bunkering facilities in Haa Alif Atoll, is one of them, the second company expressing interest hails from Dubai.

The establishment of a commercial port and a harbor including logistics is a commitment outlined in the governments’ manifesto.

Source(s): PsmNews

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