Government seeks bipartisan support for economic reform package

President Mohamed Nasheed has signaled the government’s willingness to address opposition concerns and incorporate changes to the proposed economic reform bills currently before parliament.

Speaking to press following an official meeting with main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali at the President’s Office last night, Nasheed said that the government would consider DRP proposals after “discussions at a technical level.”

“Our wish is to find a way to enter into detailed discussions with the DRP,” he said. “I asked Thasmeen about it and he said they will give an answer after consultation with their party.”

He added that broad consensus and bipartisan support was very important before putting a taxation system in place: “In my view, all citizens and politicians in the country understand very clearly that establishing a taxation system is not going to benefit a particular government,” he said.

President Nasheed noted that the government had consulted the tourism industry and received support for the proposed reforms.

Thasmeen meanwhile told press outside the President’s Office that he conveyed concerns about the proposed growth in expenditure over the next two years as well as the impact of the personal income tax.

“We cannot accept government expenditure exceeding the current Rf13 billion [annual state budget] after levying new taxes,” he said.

The minority leader of parliament said that the party was “especially concerned” about the income tax as “all citizens would be affected.”

Speaking to Minivan News today, DRP MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom confirmed that “a technical team” from the party will engage with the government to discuss details of the concerns expressed by Thasmeen at last night’s meeting.

“We have a parliamentary group meeting tonight to discuss what the DRP is going to propose,” he said.

The “prime focus” at the moment was the two bills completed by committee, said Mausoom, which were bills on the General Goods and Services Tax and an amendment to the Import-Export Act to excise and reduce import duties.

While final amendments to the bills are due before Tuesday, Mausoom said that the DRP would propose maintaining import duties for “watermelons, papaya, bananas and mangoes to protect local farmers” and ensure price competitiveness for local agricultural produce.

“The rest is the way the MDP wanted,” he said. “With the numbers in parliament right now, MDP can pass bills the way they want.”

President Nasheed meanwhile told press last night that Thasmeen gave assurances that he would “not play any part in bringing Majlis to a halt.”

“As you know, the government has support enough to pass the bills,” he said. “But that would not be best for both the government and the people for such a major change.”

Nasheed stressed that a comprehensive package was proposed to ensure that the new taxation system would be “well-rounded and water-tight.”

Concluding the press conference, President Nasheed praised Thasmeen for showing the “necessary principles of a statesmen.”


9 thoughts on “Government seeks bipartisan support for economic reform package”

  1. President Nasheed the prices of commodities are way out of reach, it has been increasing all throughout the Ramadan period. ah foahraa fashah gennnan vejje ehnnu

  2. Are these 2 gentlemen the same age? president looks young and energetic the minority leader old and tired. To lead you need energy.

  3. Chasmeen a statesman and Politician; the truth is that this guy is a dud who lives on beyond his means. Also have debts that have no intention of paying back. After all who will be the looser; it is the poor Maldivian public.

  4. The pair looks ideal for a 2013 ticket for the Presidential Election. Pictures that speak 1000 words.

  5. Not a bad development.

    I hope a bipartisan approach would address public concerns regarding a more suitable timeframe for GST implementation.

    The average department store/convenience stores need more time to adjust their accounting and business practices in order to adapt to incorporating VAT at the point of sale. No doubt the government understands the technical aspects of tax implementation, however political focus needs to be directed towards SMEs as well as the general public in addition to corporate interests.

  6. when will Anni stop raping the country n the poor masses just to enrich his MDP activists, political appointees, and family and friends?

  7. Briko

    Clearly you dont do the shopping in your house. Food, that is UNPROCESSED food is at an all time low. Amazing that you dont know this.

    Wakeup,Briko go to the shops find out for yourself. just visit the market,

    If you buy imported canned, tinned, packaged and cold storage food products you will pay for the duties and freight.

    Perhaps if Maldivians went back to eating wholesome food and seasonal fruit and vegeables instead of the junk that we are eating out of boxes and cartons tins and cans these days we may have more money in our pockets.


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