The Maldives Police Service (MPS) on Sunday registered its first cooperative society, the Police Corporative Society (POLCO), with the Ministry of Economic Development.
Registrar of Companies Ali Sujaau told local news website Sun Online that the cooperative society had been registered with 15 shareholders. Sujau did not reveal any details of the 15 shareholders.
Speaking to local media, Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef said that the cooperative society was formed in accordance with the police act, and that it would to carry out business activities that would help boost the police welfare fund.
“The main purpose of [forming POLCO] is to improve the functioning of police, and for that matter, improve the welfare fund of police officers and their families and retired police officers and their families as well. Even now there is a police shop open,” Haneef said.
Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz also tweeted about the formation of the corporative society, stating that it “will support to improve the welfare” of police officers and family members.
Haneef confirmed the formation of the cooperative society to Minivan News.
“We have been doing works to strengthen the police welfare mechanism, and the formation of a police corporative society was a part of the work,” he said.
Haneef further said that the current police shop that is being run will now be operated by the police cooperative society, and that it “would be researching new business ventures”.
The decision follows the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF)’s similar move, which has begun negotiations to enter the tourism industry with the privatisation of the Thanburudhoo island as a surf resort.
Asked if the police cooperative society would follow the MNDF cooperative society in entering the tourism industry, Haneef did not rule out the possibility.
“For now, I think it is too early to say what type of business that we may be focusing on. We are now discussing on an action plan of how the cooperative society will progress and maybe it is a possibility,” Haneef said.
MNDF Welfare Company
Last month the MNDF registered the joint venture “MNDF Welfare Company” aiming to invest in various businesses, including the tourism industry, in a bid to generate revenue to fund welfare services for the armed forces.
The “MNDF Welfare Company” registered at the Economic Ministry is 10 percent government owned, and 90 percent by SIFCO, MNDF ‘s cooperative society, which provides welfare services for defence force officers and their families, including subsidised products and loans.
Just a week after the formation of the welfare company, MNDF confirmed plans to develop a tourist resort on the island of Thanburudhoo, currently being used by the military for training and recreational purposes.
Speaking to Minivan News following the decision, Lieutenant Abdullah Ali explained that the MNDF is not going to play any direct role in the development of the resort, and that the island would be leased to a third party.
He claimed that the concept of developing the training island as a tourist resort was approved by the former government in 2010, but that work had stalled “for various reasons”.
Local surfers raised concerns over the decision on social networks, claiming that the Thamburudhoo project involved dredging and reclaiming the surrounding area of the island reef, which would destroy the popular surfing spot.
Banzai Bongo, a well-known local surfer, wrote on Face book: “This is going to affect the natural current flow of the surrounding waves such as Jailbreaks, Honkies, Sultans and Pasta. Moreover, it will destroy dive spots around this area. So the government’s best interest is to annihilate our natural resources which include world class surf sites and dive sites.”
Bongo called for surfers to “save these waves like we all stood against the state and saved the Trestles. Save it for or children, save it for the future.”