A roadmap for the first 100 days of the new administration is being drawn up to implement the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) manifesto and fulfil campaign pledges, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has said.
Speaking to press after an impromptu PPM council meeting yesterday (November 18), President Yameen explained that the roadmap would “outline what will begin to be implemented by the 30th or 45th day.”
“Committees have been formed and work has started on implementing what we promised for youth and fishermen in our manifesto,” he said.
The PPM’s campaign pledges include raising the old age pension to MVR5,000 a month, designating a General Practitioner to each family, providing subsidies for fishermen and farmers, and creating more than 90,000 jobs.
At the ongoing budget debate in parliament, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs have been calling on the government to incorporate its policies in next year’s budget and fulfil its campaign promises, pledging their assistance and cooperation.
Both opposition and government-aligned MPs agreed that the government should be offered the opportunity to revise the budget based on the PPM manifesto. A budget of MVR16.4 billion (US$1 billion) was submitted by the outgoing administration on October 30.
President Yameen meanwhile told reporters that he has asked Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad to revise recurrent expenditure as “more than a billion could be saved.”
Funds could be reduced from budget items in recurrent expenditures, he said.
Recurrent expenditure of MVR12 billion (US$778 million) – wages, subsidies and administrative costs – accounts for 73 percent of government spending in the proposed budget.
“We will bring big changes to the budget. The budget has to be changed to one that addresses what our parties pledged to do for the public,” he said, referring to the pledges by other parties in the PPM-led coalition.
Other parties in the coalition government include the Jumhooree Party led by business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim, the Maldives Development Alliance led by tourism magnate Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam, the religious conservative Adhaalath Party, former President Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihad Party and a number of smaller parties.
The new administration was also in the process of “restructuring” the President’s Office, Yameen said, and all political appointees at the office were dismissed on Sunday (November 17).
Government ministries would follow “the example the President’s Office is showing” to reduce the number of political appointees and posts, he said.
Cabinet ministers would not formulate new policies but focus on implementing the manifesto, he added.
President Yameen also met former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom at the President’s Office yesterday.
In a statement following the meeting, Yameen said the PPM leader assured the new administration of political support and assistance through the People’s Majlis.
He expressed confidence in implementing the party’s manifesto with the cooperation of coalition partners as well as the opposition in parliament.
The focus of the new administration was on reducing costs and increasing government income, President Yameen said.
“The aim of our efforts will be to provide at the earliest possible opportunity all the services we assured for the public,” he said.