Newly appointed managing director of the State Trading Organisation (STO) Hussain Amru, on Sunday, declared that the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) could only be left to operate on its own after the company recovered from debt and began to make a profit.
This includes restructuring the company and inviting new investments. Amru stated that the changes will need time to take effect.
The decision to convert MIFCO into a subsidiary of STO was made in 2016 at which time the company’s debt stood at MVR300 million. MIFCO currently obtains all loans from STO as no bank will lend to the debt-laden company.
Amru highlighted the difficulties faced by MIFCO in paying local fishermen for their catch. So far MIFCO has issued a total MVR 800 million to local fishermen in 2018.
Amru stated that increasing the export of processed fish products was key to overcoming the company’s financial crisis. MIFCO earlier guaranteed to increase the daily production capacity of value-added products to 50 tonnes within eight months.
The managing director of STO also expressed his belief that the fisheries industry could make a considerable profit and that Maldives had the potential to become a notable exporter in the global market.
While MIFCO has attributed its financial problems to the low price of frozen fish in the global market, the government has spent MVR 621.4 million as financial aid to MIFCO since 2013. The latest of these was a sum of MVR 25 million allocated to MIFCO in November.