Parliament sitting scheduled for January 26

Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid has decided to hold sittings of the People’s Majlis from January 26 onward to debate revenue raising bills submitted by the government.

The decision to resume sittings during the ongoing recess was made following a written request by 27 government-aligned MPs, contending that implementation of the budget was being hampered due to the Majlis’ failure to pass the revenue bills.

The three bills submitted by the government include an amendment to the Goods and Services Tax Act to raise T-GST from eight to 12 percent as well as two amendments to the Tourism Act intended to reintroduce the discontinued flat US$8 bed tax and require resort lease extensions to be paid as a lump sum.

Following the Majlis’s failure to extend the tourism bed tax before the end of last year, Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad told local media that the resulting losses to state revenue would be MVR100 million a month.

Among other revenue raising measures proposed by the government include revising import duties, raising airport departure charge for foreign passengers from US$18 to US$25, leasing 12 islands for resort development, and introducing GST for telecommunication services.