In his annual address to People’s Majlis, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih called upon the public to continue to provide their full support to the Government in its Covid-19 recovery efforts, especially as it begins a mass vaccination drive intended to inoculate the entire population within the next six months.

The President reiterated that the Government has taken every step to ensure that the vaccines offered to the public meet the highest safety and efficiency standards, and that the earlier we can roll out our vaccination programme, the quicker we can put this pandemic behind us. President Solih noted that we are fortunate, relative to many other countries, which do not have sufficient vaccine stock to cater to their respective populations.

The Government’s priority since the emergence of the pandemic has been helping the country fully recover from the virus at the earliest, so that we can subsequently reinvigorate our efforts to deliver the Jazeera Raajje we have promised to our citizens. While the Government has put the health of everyone residing in the Maldives at the forefront of our priorities, we have also undertaken measures to ensure the country’s economic resilience and to support businesses, industries and individuals adversely impacted by Covid-19. To cite the President’s remarks: ‘17,147 who were unemployed due to Covid-19 received a total of MVR 221.1 million till the end of December last year’. Further ‘the Government has allocated MVR 400 million in this year’s budget to continue lending loans to support small and medium enterprises’, among other measures intended to alleviate Covid-19 related difficulties.

This assistance will continue alongside the Government’s efforts to strengthen major industry’s such as tourism, fisheries and construction and to diversify our economy, and decentralize development. However, the country will need to recover fully from Covid-19 to accelerate the pace of our major projects and return our economy to full strength. To realize these aims, the Government will need the full assistance and cooperation of citizens. Having said this, the President acknowledged. with gratitude, that a key component of why the country has been able to endure this long and difficult ordeal has been the resilience and strength of our population. He urged them to continue to place their trust in the Government and to comply with the directions of health authorities.