State coffers full, no salaries

  • No accountability over state resources, funds

K. Male' | Rushdha Rasheed | 03-February-2017 | Friday 09:38 | rushdhar | Report | 1,800

President's Office -- -- Photo by: Mohamed Sharuhaan

Headlines constantly scream out that the Government is raking in big bucks from major projects. That the amount of tax payments in the country is rising. But what happens afterwards is shrouded in mystery; words and actions mismatch.

The last major news to make the headlines was the delay of salaries for the month of January for Police officers. There is literally no one who seems to be aware of why this had happened. The budget for this year, for Police is by no means a paltry figure. The state budget is nearly MVR 27 billion. Therefore, any increment or decrease had to be approved in the budget. But with no such change, and the major delay, Police Cooperative Society had to step in, providing loans to the thousands employed by the Service.

There is no form of accountability and transparency over state funds, even if the public concerns rise. Next, we heard that President’s Office is deliberating on the issue. One would assume that the state budget for this year was passed after intensive discussions at multiple layers, starting from the Finance Ministry to the Parliamentary Committee on budget to the President’s Office. Therefore, it’s unacceptable that discussions on the budget can be held at this stage.

It is understatement to say the state is up to its elbows in debt, having sold off islands, lagoons and mass sale of T-bills and loan acquisitions. The tax system the current heavily relies on was introduced during MDP administration; a move that was hotly contested by those in power today. Those individuals today are more than happy to increase the taxes, while slashing subsidies. The entire nation is strung up by the multitude of loans and taxes and still the Government seems incapable to running the country.

Many point to the ever-increasing funds pumped into maintaining the power structure in place. This was seen during the heady days of former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and now. With billions missing from state coffers, there has been no credible investigation to it. No efforts had been made to recover the missing billions.

The economic policies spearheaded by the Government, such as the i-Havan initiative, Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Maldives Investment Forums, had failed to yield results. The budgets are set with the expectation that funds from these initiatives will roll in. We are yet to see any incoming investments.

So yes, in spite of the earnings, due to these there may be issues in paying salaries.

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