The Finance Ministry has appealed for cooperation from all state institutions to the government’s cost-cutting measures by not hiring additional staff, creating new posts or replacing vacancies.
A budget circular issued by the ministry on Sunday notes that expenditure on state employees accounts for 35 percent of government spending in the 2011 budget while 49 percent of government expenditure so far this year (excluding foreign loans and free aid) was on salaries and allowances.
“Lately a number of institutions have been requesting permission from the ministry to add new posts in 2011 and hire employees for vacant posts,” reads the circular signed by Finance Minister Ahmed Inaz. “However since the ministry believes that, considering the state of the budget, there is no space to add employees or fill vacant posts this year, the ministry urges cooperation for controlling the number of employees.”
As part of the government’s belt-tightening measures to curb expenditure, the circular notes, the Finance Ministry requires offices and state institutions to seek authorisation in writing for capital expenditure and overseas trips as well as repair and maintenance work.
The ministry had previously informed all state institutions to not create new posts or fill vacancies, the circular noted.
“In addition, posts of employees who leave their government jobs under the ministry’s “voluntary redundancy programme” has been abolished,” it added. “The ministry believes that as a result of this programme expenditure on employees out of the state budget will be controlled to an extent.”
The Finance Ministry recently revealed that the country’s fiscal deficit in 2011 reached Rf1.3 billion (US$84 million) in the first week of September.
The circular meanwhile noted that the government has pledged not to raise nominal wages until the end of 2012 under the staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In May, the IMF gave preliminary approval for a three year economic programme in the Maldives, after the government agreed to “a package of policy reforms that will help stabilise and strengthen the Maldives’ economy.”
“In sum, this package of proposed policy reforms will help stabilize and strengthen Maldives’s economy, and the mission thus reached a staff-level agreement with the Maldivian authorities on a three-year economic program that could be supported by a new IMF lending arrangement,” reads an IMF press statement in May. “The agreement reached, however, remains subject to review by IMF management and approval of the IMF’s Executive Board, which could consider a program request from Maldives in July. It is anticipated that an approved program would encourage key donors to contribute additional financial support.”