Driving taxis has been given professional status, and a drivers’ register will be compiled, the government has confirmed.

President Mohamed Muizzu had, during his presidential campaign, promised to create a registry of taxi drivers and, additionally, provide housing opportunities for them through the administration’s social housing system.

During a press conference at the President’s Office on Tuesday, Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, Principal Secretary to the President on Public Policy, said that due to the profession not being recognised as a professional occupation, some of the needs of taxi drivers were not being met.

Some the jobs like fishing, driving taxis have not yet taken the form of a permanent, formal income generating activity for them. It is well known that some of their very important essential needs are not met as a result… Applying for loans and submitting income to institutions if required. With such difficulties, taxi drivers should be registered in the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation as part of their efforts to become official income earners.

Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, Principal Secretary to the President on Public Policy, explaining the administration’s thinking behind establishing a registry of taxi drivers and recognising the profession as a permanent occupation.

Ibrahim also revealed plans to establish a digital payment system under the registry, stating that banks would be consulted to abolish any additional fees charged under such a system.

The cabinet has also decided to take necessary steps to make the taxis environmentally friendly, particularly as the Ras Malé is being developed as an eco-city.

“The President has also asked all stakeholders, especially taxi drivers, to be properly consulted during these discussions to ensure that no one’s rights are violated,” Ibrahim said.

In addition, a system will be established to introduce environmentally friendly taxis and the investments will be made through a state-owned company or companies, he said.