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Illegal narcotics 'biggest economic challenge' facing the country, says Maldivian home minister

The drug crisis is the biggest economic challenge facing the country today, Maldivian Home Minister Imran Abdulla said on Tuesday, weeks after the government formed a special task force to tackle the growing trade in banned drugs

Dec 28, 2021
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Illegal narcotics

The drug crisis is the biggest economic challenge facing the country today, Maldivian Home Minister Imran Abdulla said on Tuesday, weeks after the government formed a special task force to tackle the growing trade in banned drugs. He also alleged that certain politicians were taking advantage of the crisis. 

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the disposal of seized drugs on Tuesday, the home minister said the drug crisis had become the "biggest economic challenge" for the government. He further assured that the result of the government actions would be visible by the next year. 

In the last few weeks, the government and security forces have seized narcotics and other psychotropic substances worth millions of dollars. The large-scale seizures during the counter-drug operations show the seriousness of the issue, said Police Commissioner Mohammed Hameed. 

Abdullah also cautioned the public to remain aware of “politicians” who take advantage of the crisis. 

“There are business networks that profit from this. And there are certain politicians who profit from this,” he was quoted as saying by Sun news. “The people need to be alert to them. The people need to think about this. That way, such parties will distance themselves from such things and will not involve such crimes in their business and criminal activities," he added. 

Last month, as part of its efforts to curb the illicit trade, the government has formed a special task force under the chairmanship of President Ibrahim Mohemmed Solih, who himself first proposed the dedicated task force. 

Smuggling of narcotics, an issue that has been plaguing the archipelago for over five decades, is the result of wrong policies of the past administrations, Home Minister Abdullah said, adding that the current administration under President Solih is on the right track to tackle the issue. 

Importantly, the issue was one among many challenges, figured in the last two trilateral NSA-level conferences, where India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives stressed increasing cooperation in joint coordinated actions, including intelligence sharing. India is also helping the Maldivian Coast Guard in enhancing its capabilities to tackle narcotic smuggling. 

(SAM)

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