Preliminary debate begun on three bills

Parliament began preliminary debate on three bills during its sittings this week, including legislation on small and medium-sized businesses proposed by the government as part of its economic reform package.

Presenting the bill on Monday, MP Nazim Rashad of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said the legislation would establish a centralised mechanism to register small businesses and facilitate loans for investment.

In the next sitting on Tuesday, Independent MP Ali Mohamed presented a bill on medical devices. The former opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP explained that the absence of relevant legislation on medical equipment precluded hospitals from ascertaining their quality.

The legislation would encourage training staff to operate the machinery and establish a regulatory board to enforce standards.

Meanwhile at today’s sitting, the last of the week, preliminary debate began on the government’s arbitration bill, which seeks to introduce alternative dispute resolution in the Maldives. The bill is also part of the government’s 18-bill economic reform package.

The first of the reform bills – now the General Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act – was passed at the final sitting of the last session on August 29.

Also during this week’s sittings, the government’s bill to amend the Import-Export Act of 1979 to reduce and eliminate custom duties entered the final committee stage. The amendment bill is likely to be put for a vote when Majlis resumes next week.