A decentralized nation must be built in order to truly reach the government’s goal of development, says President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Councillors Conference of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on Thursday morning, Solih stated that the financial liberation of councils must be prioritized to reach decentralization.
Further, he added that the desired change cannot be observed if governance is not done close to the people.
Also, Solih highlighted many measures that his government intends to take towards achieving a decentralized nation, in a way that benefits the entire country and its people.
Noting the importance of restoring their powers and responsibilities to the council, Solih said that meaningful changes cannot be brought when said powers are stripped from the people.
In addition, Solih stated that work is underway to incorporate the changes to the decentralization framework after forming a freshly amended bill, and that it will include expertise and concerns of Councillors who joined the inauguration ceremony in Hulhumalé.
In this regard, Solih said that the amendments to the decentralization framework with prioritize fiscal decentralization and accord powers to councils in order to collect revenue from services they provide as well as from the resources over which they have the jurisdiction.
Once effective, five percent of the government’s annual budget will be given to councils who will be allowed 40 percent of the revenue from leasing reefs and to 100 percent of the total revenue from renting land over which they have jurisdiction in inhabited islands.
After this, councils will have rights to collect fees for their services and power to create and operate businesses that are beneficial for their constituents.
Further, Solih noted that depending on the input of youth and women is imperative to the progress regarding said issues.
As such, it is “impossible” to bring about desired progress without the input of 50 percent of the population, said Solih.
The President added that “expanding the role played by women in the upcoming generation is a key ambition” of his administration.
In addition, he assured that as part of the amendments, it will be ensured that 33 percent of all council seats are filled by women.