Roughly three-quarters of small businesses in the Maldives operate without being registered, a study from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.
The NBS noted the statistics in a 2019 household income and expenditure survey focusing on small local businesses.
According to the survey, there are approximately 40,232 small businesses, with only 9,253 (or 23 percent) having a registration. The study also noted that the majority of the registered small businesses employ a larger workforce.
The survey revealed that around 85% of local small businesses are self-employed, with the remaining majority of small businesses consisting of two people.
The NBS report highlighted that, since the vast majority of small businesses are unregistered, they are unable to reap the full benefits of government assistance.
According to the report, small businesses generated a total revenue of MVR 709 million per month, while the average stood at MVR 22,618 per month, with huge variations in revenue depending on the type of business. Wholesale and retail small businesses generated the highest monthly average revenue of MVR 92,501.
Administrative and support services businesses, such as travel agencies, generated the second highest monthly average revenue of MVR 57,250, followed by construction businesses with MVR 45,717.
Furthermore, the NBS survey found that small businesses earned a total of MVR 203 million in monthly profit in 2019, with an average of MVR 6,840 for each business.
Administrative and support services businesses generated the most monthly profit with MVR 17,439, followed by waste management services with MVR 16,821 and telecommunication services with MVR 15,000.
The report highlighted that the relatively low profit for wholesale and retail businesses, despite higher revenue, is due to the country’s expensive logistics services. According to the NBS, the small enterprises report is the most detailed and comprehensive study on small businesses ever conducted; it included the number of small businesses, the number of people employed by such businesses, the type of business, revenue, and profit.