Politics

Parliament passes record state budget for 2018

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Lawmakers pictured during a parliament session. PHOTO/MAJLIS

The parliament on Wednesday passed the state budget proposed by the government for 2018.

The current government’s record state budget of MVR 27.9 billion was unanimously by 39 lawmakers of the ruling coalition, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA). Lawmakers of opposition parties had boycotted the vote.

The parliament passed the budget soon after the opposition parties had filed at Supreme Court, seeking a temporary order to halt the vote. The opposition had requested the apex court for a ruling that the state budget can only be passed with the votes of more than half the parliament members as per the Constitution. However, the court has not made a decision on the case yet.

Debating on the report compiled by the budget review committee, PPM’s deputy leader and Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem declared that the record budget would take the Maldives to new heights in the coming year. He slammed the opposition’s objections of the budget being a “deception” as false and groundless.

PPM lawmakers pictured during a meeting of the budget review committee. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIAHARU

PPM lawmakers pictured during a meeting of the budget review committee. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIAHARU

Meanwhile, Hoarafushi MP Mohamed Ismail acknowledged that the budget could not include all the development projects desired by citizens. However, he stated that the government is conducting various projects across the Maldives, from the northernmost Haa Alif atoll Thuraakunu island to Addu City in the south.

The lawmaker of Feydhoo constituency, Ibrahim Didi, proclaimed that the budget would prove beneficial to each and every citizen. He highlighted the government’s decision to increase the remuneration of civil servants, and declared that the parliamentarians of the ruling coalition are proud to vote for such a budget.

The parliamentary budget review committee had approved the budget with only one amendment; the committee had shifted the funds allocated to develop a jail with a capacity of 300 inmates in Kaafu atoll Kaashidhoo island, under the public sector investment programme (PSIP), for the reclamation of Huraa island in the same atoll instead. The committee had also approved to submit three recommendations to the government.

The parliament passed the budget without further amendments.

The state budget proposes 522 projects under PSIP in 2018, which includes 430 ongoing projects and 93 new ventures. The budget allocates MVR 5.4 billion for the ongoing projects and MVR 1.7 billion for the new ones.

The budget book for 2018. PHOTO/MIHAARU

The budget book for 2018. PHOTO/MIHAARU

Some highlights of State Budget 2018:

  • Development of Velana International Airport (MVR 1 billion)
  • Development of Dharumavantha Hospital (MVR 818 million)
  • Development of 6,000 housing units in capital Male and other islands (MVR 580 million)
  • Development of China-Maldives Friendship Bridge (MVR 313 million)
  • Increasing the remuneration of civil servants (MVR 234 million)
  • Electricity subsidy (MVR 200 million)
  • Digitalisation of schools (MVR 154 million)
  • Food subsidy (MVR 50 million)

The government has proposed a record budget of MVR 27.9 billion for the year 2018, estimating expenditures of MVR 24.9 billion and revenue of MVR 22.4 billion. The budget estimates that the government would receive about MVR 16.3 billion in various forms of taxes, MVR 858 million in foreign aid and about MVR 5.2 from other unspecified sources. The budget is expected to have a deficit of MVR 2.5 billion, which would be 3.2 percent of the GDP.

The parliament had approved a budget of MVR 26.8 billion for this year; however, the state proposed a supplementary budget of MVR 493 million late in October, which drove up this year’s budget to MVR 27.3 billion.

Full details are available at the link below:

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