Fact Check: Maldives Did NOT Announce Bankruptcy At IMF As Of February 18, 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Maldives Did NOT Announce Bankruptcy At IMF As Of February 18, 2024 Financial Risk

Did the Maldives announce its bankruptcy at the International Monetary Fund as of February 18, 2024? No, that's not true: A publicly available report issued by the International Monetary Fund on February 6, 2024, said the South Asian country was at a high risk of "debt distress," but never said it was bankrupt or had announced bankruptcy. As of February 20, 2024, there were no credible news reports of the Maldives announcing bankruptcy.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram on February 18, 2024. It began:

Maldives announced Bankruptcy officially at IMF cannot pay any loans!

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-02-20 at 1.49.56 PM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tues Feb 20 18:45:45 2024 UTC)

The preliminary findings of a mission report (archived here) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was issued as a press release on February 6, 2024. The findings didn't say the country was bankrupt and only warned about potential financial "vulnerabilities" despite the large tourism economy:

A sustained fiscal consolidation, accompanied by tighter monetary and macroprudential policies, is needed to reduce vulnerabilities and restore the sustainability of public finance and debt. In this regard, the authorities are taking a welcome step to develop an ambitious and homegrown fiscal reform agenda and committed to urgently implement this.

The mission trip took place from January 23, 2024, to February 6, 2024. The findings did warn about economic difficulties:

'Without significant policy changes, the overall fiscal deficits and public debt are projected to stay elevated, and the Maldives remains at high risk of external and overall debt distress. Amid elevated fuel prices coupled with continued strong import demands, the current account deficit in 2024 is projected to remain large, albeit gradually narrowing over the medium term. The Maldives is highly vulnerable to climate change risks, with potentially severe economic costs due to floods and rising sea level.'

French news outlet France 24 posted an article (archived here) after the IMF release titled "IMF warns of Maldives foreign debt crisis, after China borrowing" that did not say the Maldives announced bankruptcy or was bankrupt:

A Google news search (archived here) for the keywords "imf announced maldives bankruptcy" returned zero credible news reports and neither did the search of keywords (archived here) "maldives announced bankruptcy." Had this happened, this would have been a major international story in the news.

Lead Stories contacted the office for Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu and will update the story when a response is received.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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