The Bank of Maldives (BML) will increase the maximum withdrawal limit for Maldivians studying abroad from US$750 to US$1,200 per month. The decision came after ministerial discussions on a paper submitted by the Ministry of Finance at a Cabinet meeting held on Monday.

Pursuant to the Cabinet decision, the dollar limit will be increased exclusively for Maldivian students studying abroad. No immediate updates were available on the maximum withdrawal limit for others, including for customer transactions within the Maldives, which has remained at US$250 for over two years.

During his visit to Türkiye upon taking office, President Muizzu, in a meeting with Maldivians living in the country, pledged to find a solution to the current limitations put in place by BML.

At a press conference held at the Presidential Office on Monday, the Principal Secretary to the President on Public Policy, Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, said the government is taking measures to address the difficulties faced by students due to the US dollar limit.

“The Cabinet has decided to increase the amount of money [US dollars the can be withdrawn or spent while abroad] from each student’s card to $1,200 from February 1 [2024],” Nazim said.

It was also revealed that the Cabinet discussed the possibility of raising the debit and credit card limits on BML cards and providing financial assistance to BML to implement this move by providing foreign exchange as part of an intervention policy through the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA). The Cabinet, through the Finance Ministry, will work with BML and MMA to carry out the administrative and technical requirements to raise the limit.

BML has, since the pandemic, imposed strict limits on US dollar transactions, hamstringing small and medium business operations and consistently drawing public ire. Meanwhile, the bank maintains the same annual fees and issuing fees for their credit and debit cards, as well as other services. Additionally, the bank continues to impose monthly limits on how much customers can withdraw from their US dollar savings, even when savings exceed the limits set by the bank.