Auditor General doubts fisheries subsidies could be released

Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim told local daily Haveeru last week that he doubted whether the government could release MVR 100 million as fuel subsidies for fishermen as decided by parliament’s Finance Committee on October 17.

In an interview with the newspaper, Niyaz questioned the legality of issuing the subsidy, suggesting that it could be in violation of the Public Finance Act.

“If we look at the Finance Act, we have doubts whether these funds could be released. We also have doubts over the strength of the policies set to issue the subsidy. There are question marks over the effectiveness of the subsidy. Questions arise as to why a certain group is benefiting from these funds as subsidy for a period of two months,” Niyaz was quoted as saying.

The Auditor General’s Office was assessing the guidelines approved by the parliamentary committee for issuing the subsidies, Niyaz said, adding that the office has informed the Fisheries Ministry that its recommendations would be submitted to the Finance Committee.

Deputy Minister of Fisheries Ali Solih told local media last week that an announcement inviting applications for the subsidy would be made in the government’s gazette to start issuing subsidies on November 1.