A Mahaasingaa for Tourism Ministry

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Because the curriculum was in a mess at the education ministry they started a big “Mahaasingaa” (meaning big lion) which has ended now with lots and lots of ideas, arguments, threats and many a pleadings by various industry leaders promising a brighter future for the next generation of students. We, the old batch were robbed of much education it seems from the curriculum debates.

Fisheries ministry is also waking up from a deep sleep (almost like a hibernation) promising everything from facilities to produce ice, improved baits for fishermen and improved designs for dhonis and fish finding technologies.

Not to be outdone, Labor ministry and Immigration were seen locked in a dispute over who shall keep the monies levied from expatriates and it seems immigration has won. Both these ministries are still arranging house after years of misdirection thanks to which we will hopefully see a better revised sets of laws for labor.

In the tourism ministry the work started with lots of talk of more products to offer to tourists such as cultural tourism and nothing seems to move forward since. The biggest two problems inherited to the tourism industry from the days of “Jaahiliyya” (President Anni coined this term to mean the reign of his predecessor… which to some extent is valid) are that of land reform and unrest in various resorts in the form of protests which are generally a reaction to years of neglect on an important part of tourism industry namely the staff. Of these two issues the issue of labor is effectively the domain of labor ministry and the land reform issue which is expected to be debated in the Majlis in the ongoing term is likely to be fought mercilessly. Resort being resorts, no resort owner would likely let go of a resort even if the way the resort is obtained in the first place might have been fraudulent and is proved to be so and legislated against it. There are many such contestable resort ownership issues which will become controversial in the course of Majlis debates. At the beginning of the current presidency there was a concerted effort by some resort owners to have the resort rent term extended to 50 years which would have been a very bad move for the industry as it would have cemented the positions of some illicit investments in the industry. An interesting point is the current government seemed to support the move at the time which was shot down by the opposition and many others working in the industry. Another important point is that the former government with various proxies and aliases have secured for themselves a few resort islands for the former first family and they are very quiet about their modest gains for obvious reasons.

So, like the Mahaasingaa by the education ministry, the tourism ministry shall also come up with a mahaasingaa of their own to proceed to untangled the mess created in the past regime. The work to be done is in relation to land, labor and of course to promote the country. In this economic crisis the only way out is not through further murky deals underhand but with dispensing justice and being transparent. There is labor in this country which can solve the problem of the dollar shortage aswell as the skills shortage only if the tourism ministry would take charge of the situation rather than staying put expecting other ministries to do their work for them.

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