Politics

Better late than never? Maldives ruling party launches manifesto

The Maldives ruling party Tuesday night launched its election manifesto, days before voting is due to take place and months after it was promised by President Abdulla Yameen.

Yameen, who is seeking a second term in office, launched the Shared Progress manifesto at a rally in the capital, where  supporters gathered to show the “real size” of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).

The manifesto makes a number of eye-catching projections, including the increase of GDP from MVR70 billion in 2018 to MVR175 billion in 2023 and boosting jobs from 250,000 in 2018 to 663,000 in 2023.

“Tonight we have unveiled a manifesto that will double our income. That means this manifesto will raise our income to USD$20,000 if we currently get USD$10,000,” Yameen told the crowd.

He has shown a shaky grasp of facts and statistics in recent weeks.

The total registered Maldivian population at the end of 2017 was 378,114, official figures say.

It is expected to reach almost one million by 2054, according to UN estimates, with Maldivians comprising 57 percent of that figure.

The manifesto’s job claim would mean that, by 2023, there are more jobs than there are Maldivians.

Yameen said earlier this week that the GDP was USD$4,000 or USD$5,000 when he took office and that the GDP was currently USD$10,000. Neither of these assertions are true.

World Bank data says the Maldives GDP per capita was between USD$4,000 and USD$5,000 in the mid 1990s.

In 2014, the first year of Yameen’s presidency, it was USD$8,124. The GDP per capita for 2017 was recorded at USD$8,980 – short of the USD$10,000 claimed by Yameen.

The election is scheduled for September 23.

Below are the PPM pledges:

Infrastructure and urban development

  • Economic centres to be opened in the north and south
  • Development of Greater Malé Zone (GMZ)
  • Establish 5,000 housing units in atolls
  • Fresh drinking water facility and sewage system in all inhabited islands
  • A percentage of power needed for GMZ to be generated through waste management in Thilafushi
  • Seven waste recycling centers across the Maldives
  • Abolish duty from bicycles and create bicycle lanes in islands

Tourism

  • Increase tourism arrivals to five million
  • Establish a tourism zone in Huvadhu atoll
  • Develop 10,000 tourism beds in Huvadhu atoll
  • Make Faafu atoll into an integrated tourism hub
  • Develop an artificial surfing point in Hulhumalé
  • Turn Hulhumalé into a surfing destination
  • Develop high-end hotels in Malé (in land vacated after relocating port to Thilafushi)

Maritime hub

  • Malé port to be relocated to Thilafushi
  • Turn Thilafushi into a transhipment port
  • Connect Thilafushi port and Malé through a bridge
  • Bunkering, docking and oil facility in Addu

Financing

  • Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) to be changed into a development bank
  • Housing loan interest rates to drop to 5 percent, contributing rate to 15 percent
  • Islamic banking to all islands
  • Online payment system
  • 1,000 loans available for women and youth wanting to start a business

ICT

  • Establish technology park in Villimalé 2
  • Build highly skilled ICT workforce
  • Reduce internet costs by 30 percent
  • Establish ‘Smart Maldives’ portal to access information and services

Fisheries

  • Fish processing centers in eight regions
  • SME loans and reducing import tariffs
  • Develop diamondback squid fishery
  • ‘Fishermen Card’ to ensure priority when getting public services
  • Aquaculture and mariculture
  • Set a minimum price for yellowfin tuna
  • Fish canning factory in Addu

Agriculture

  • Self-sufficiency in five selected crops
  • Guarantee land for farming
  • Climate smart farming methods
  • Establish aggregation centers
  • Establish five agronomy research centres

Health

  • First organ transplant centre
  • Establish national medical diagnostic network
  • Dharumavantha hospital phase 2 – 850 bed medical facility
  • Restructure Aasandha scheme
  • Free test and monitoring kits to diabetic patients
  • Increase doctors through first medical university

Education

  • Annual scholarships for vocational and technical studies
  • Include digital literacy in curriculum
  • STEM education in curriculum
  • Train app developers and coders
  • Free tuition across the country
  • Program to ensure employment
  • Student card offering discounts in domestic air travel and public transport
  • Waive admin fees charged for loan schemes

Social protection

  • MVR5,000 disability allowance
  • Discounts for people over 65 in air travel and public transport
  • Incentivised use of special vehicles
  • Financial support for divorced women with young children
  • Offer tax rebates

Young people

  • Ensure homes for everyone over 18
  • Artist hubs
  • National football training academy
  • MVR300 million fund to assist NGOs

Full details are available at the link below:

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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