Finance Minister Ahmed Inaz has disputed claims by People’s Alliance (PA) MP Abdulla Yameen that police and armed forces MPs will receive a 40 percent salary increase in 2012.
Instead the 2012 budget for police and armed forces will increase 9.51 percent “to cover the salary increment for officers who receive promotion and salaries of those who are to be employed next year,” Inaz told newspaper Haveeru.
The 2012 budget includes the provision for 50 additional police officers, while the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) will only recruit to vacant posts, Inaz stated.
Yameen allegedly learned of the proposal from the budget review committee rather than the budget itself, Haveeru reported earlier this week.
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has meanwhile requested parliament include any unpaid civil servants’ salaries and allowances in the 2012 budget without conditions.
Several independent institutions, including the Maldives National University (MNU), meanwhile raised concerns this week over cuts made by the Finance Ministry to their proposed budgets for 2012.
The program-based budget submitted by some of the institutions was revised by the Finance Ministry to maintain recurrent expenditure in line with projected income.
The Rf 14.6 billion (US$946.8 million) state budget for 2012 was submitted to parliament on November 28 by Finance Minister Ahmed Inaz. It is now being reviewed by parliament’s budget review committee headed by local business tycoon, MP Gasim Ibrahim.
The committee met with senior officials of the Local Government Authority (LGA) and the MNU this week, as well as several other institutions, during which they complained about cuts made by the Finance Ministry during the revision process prior to the submission to parliament.
Finance Minister Inaz was not responding to calls at time of press.
The Constitution requires parliament to finalise the budget before December 28. Previous budget committees have significantly increased the budget submitted by the Finance Ministry.
President Mohamed Nasheed’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair observed that additional subsidies and salary increases allocated by parliament for political reasons made it “very difficult” for the government to adhere to the budget.
” “The budget submitted to parliament is a product of exhaustive consultation. Last year no reference was made as to which sector the Finance Ministry should deduct the extra expenditure, and the Minister is required to use his discretion,” Zuhair said.
The Finance Minister has claimed that the government will cover recurrent expenditure in next year’s budget and reduce the deficit to 9.7 percent. However Yameen has claimed that Rf2.3 billion (US$150 million) has been allocated to repaying loans, and that the country’s debt now amounts to Rf 16,000 (US$1037) per head.