Maldives in privatization drive to up efficiency, fix finances: IMF

Jan 31, 2010 (LBO) – The Indian Ocean archipelago of Maldives will privatize its airport but could also sell down other state enterprises and bring private capital to a domestic bank, the International Monetary Fund has said. “A central plank will be the privatization of the airport, but stakes in the telecommunications company have already been sold and other enterprises and services (such as electricity, water and sewage) could also be divested,” the IMF said in a report.

A stake in the telecoms firm has been sold for 40 million US dollars and “a majority stake in the airport is expected to be sold in the coming months”, the IMF said in a report issued after the economic watchdog’s annual consultations with the tourist paradise.

Difficult Times

The IMF has a program to rescue the economy and boost its foreign reserves after the islands ran into balance of payments troubles due to monetization of debt, which was worsened during the recent global economic downturn.

The government would also like to sell off its stake in the Bang of Maldives, which has been hit by bad loans. The bank also had less access to international credit lines unlike other banks which are part of foreign banks.

IMF said a