The Muizzu administration will allow island councils to incorporate nearby uninhabited islands and lagoons into their jurisdiction under specific guidelines to boost their revenue, the President’s Office has confirmed. Islands and lagoons that are within 700 meters of populated areas fall under the jurisdiction of local councils.

While there has been some concern that many councils may not be utilising the resources within their jurisdiction with a view to maximise productivity and economic impact, President Mohamed Muizzu said the opportunity is now open to bring nearby uninhabited islands and lagoons under the jurisdiction of councils to facilitate progress and further empower the councils.

The president said councils would be invited to submit proposals for development projects in accordance with the National Development Plan. However, jurisdiction for an island or lagoon will only be granted with the support and consent of all other inhabited islands in the atoll and such decisions will be made through agreements between the government and the councils, the President’s Office said.

President Muizzu proposed that this initiative would create additional development opportunities across the islands, increase economic activity, and boost job creation.