The parliament committee formed to review the amendment bill to the Decentralization Act, has approved to extend councilors terms.
While the act currently states that a councilors term is three years, the government endorsed bill seeks to increase this to five years.
Extending the term of councilors is a campaign pledge of the incumbent president.
The committee approved the bill without any amendments, as forwarded by the President’s Office.
While the bill “focuses on realising the hopes and dreams of a ‘Jazeera Raajje’ by granting better access to resources to ensure regional sustainable development and empowerment to local councils,” it also seeks to elect presidents and vice presidents of all councils through a public vote.
The bill was drafted in accordance to the government’s vision to strengthen the country’s decentralization system and to empower local councils.
According to the President’s Office, other means proposed in the amendments to ensure the financial stability of the local councils also include “allocating 40 per cent of revenue from leasing land, islands and lagoons, and 100 per cent of the revenue generated from land and other resources in the direct jurisdiction of the council.” All Public Sector Investment Programmes (PSIP) under MVR five million will also fall under local councils as sectoral grants.
Further, the proposed changes to the law also include reserving 33 percent of council seats to female candidates.
While a local council election is scheduled for April 2020, as the term of current councilors will expire by then, the government is working to implement the act prior to the election.