President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has on Sunday ratified the recently approved amendment to the Decentralization Act.
The president signed the amendment into law at the Viavathi Councillor’s Forum, ongoing at Crossroads Maldives.
The amendment bill was passed by the People’s Majlis prior to going into recess earlier this month; 76 lawmakers voted in its favour.
According to the president, the main purpose of the amendments is to 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. 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. Council will also have the rights to collect fees for their services and power to create and operate businesses that are beneficial for their constituents.
The amendment also reserves 33 percent of council seats to female candidates.
While the previous administration had restricted the powers and responsibilities of councils, restoring it had been a campaign pledge of the incumbent president.
The next local council elections are scheduled for April 2020.