The 2011 State Budget to be deliberated by parliament next week will target more funds for island development, provide soft loans for small business and encourage private sector job growth, President Mohamed Nasheed said yesterday in his weekly radio address.
A shift from line-item to programme budgeting makes next year’s budget “very different from previous years” as it will direct more resources to islands for managing development programmes.
The budget for individual islands “will be much higher than it was in the past”, Nasheed explained, as the government anticipated “the work of ministries will be reduced and especially, when atoll councils and island councils start functioning, the government believes it will have, that it should have, responsibilities to carry out.”
While the budget includes a programme to offer government guarantees on soft loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, he added, economic policies will aim to spur job growth by strengthening the private sector.
“For example, the transport network – 300 new jobs have been created within that system,” he said, reiterating the government’s policy of pursuing public-private partnerships.
Moreover, the Human Resources Ministry is currently compiling a national employment registry to track monthly rates of job losses and employment gains, he revealed.
As the final sittings of the year are set to resume on Monday, parliament remains at loggerheads with the executive over the endorsement of cabinet members, with forced cancellations paralysing the legislature for the past three weeks.
While the opposition majority insist that ministers must be approved individually, MPs of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) favour a ‘block vote’ for all ministers and moreover argue that the issue must be removed from the agenda until parliamentary rules of procedure is amended in light of the landmark Supreme Court ruling last month.
The Supreme Court ruled that while article 171(i) of the parliament’s rules of procedure, which allows nominees to be questioned by committee, does not contradict with constitution, it cannot be used in endorsing cabinet ministers.
Addressing supporters during a campaign rally last week, opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali said that although the party engaged in official talks with the government and international mediators “in the end after three months when there is still no way to hold ministers accountable, and when these ministers do as they please, the result ultimately is adverse effect on the lives of the Maldivian people.”
Writing in his website in September, the parliament majority leader argued that parliament was “unable to effectively provide the checks and balances necessary for the system to work democratically” and exercise oversight powers with the cabinet awaiting parliamentary consent.
Thasmeen further claimed that “failure of government officials to appear before the parliament is part of a series of deliberate acts by the government to pave way for autocratic rule,” adding that the opposition “should seriously consider taking legal action against government officials who ignore requests to appear before the parliament.”
The cabinet was reappointed by President Nasheed in July after resigning en masse in protest of the “scorched-earth policies” of the opposition, which it accused of obstruction and attempting to wrest executive control from the government.
DRP MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News today that “no MP would obstruct the passing of the budget, but they should advocate on behalf of their constituencies.”
Nihan said that the party would seek to “make adjustments and change some components” as with the 2010 budget, claiming that opposition MPs’ constituencies were neglected by the government.
He further criticised the government for revenue shortfalls due to “failed projects such as privatising IGMH (Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital) and not collecting the full amount for the sale of Dhiraagu shares”.
While he expressed confidence that MPs would “fulfill their constitutional responsibility to pass the budget and ensure that services are provided to the people”, Nihan backed the DRP Leader’s stance on resolving the cabinet issue as the first priority.
“According to the constitution, the Finance Minister has to submit the budget,” he explained. “But we don’t believe there is a Finance Minister right now. What [Thasmeen] is saying is how can we go forward without resolving this. So let’s finish this first.”
7 thoughts on “Majlis impasse may obstruct passing of 2011 Budget”
"the opposition “should seriously consider taking legal action against government officials who ignore requests to appear before the parliament.”
Go take legal action getting Your judges to pronounce Your rules as You always did.
You have paved the way for it, by guaranteeing Your judges a lifetime on the bench, qualified or not.
30 years of dictating and ofcourse we do not expect You to have changed.
typical DRP /PA trying to bring the country to its knees.
everyone knows what they are up to. Even the IMF called Nazim a liar.
Someone needs to help Anni to fire some of these Ministers like Health Minister Aminath Jameel if he does not have the guts to do so. She got us into the mess with Apollo hospital. IGMH is in worse condition than it has ever been since it was built. We have been forced to live without a paediatrician for some four months earlier this year. Today patients have to go to ADK for even even a simple thing such as blood cross matching. Yes we need to get the Ministers approved in parliament before any other business.
Since when did you have to go to ADK to do a cross match? When you do make your case - please be truthful
If you had said that some tests have not been done for even months because required reagents were not available that would be true.
If you had said that doctors are having to ration medical gloves, disposable wipes ... that would be true.
With regards to Minister Aminath Jameel, I agree that she is lacking on the Health side of Health & Family.
Sad that you are quick to accuse others of lying when they mention a fact that you are not aware of. Guess some people are so full of themselves that they think they know everything.
To update yourself ask IGMH or ADK management. Luckily for you there is an article in today's Haveeru on IGMH and blood cross matching tests.
WTF is wrong with opposition party,they should leave the matter of appearing the ministers to parliament, rather go on with the important bills like taxation bill...which is beneficial to country...
I could imagine how much Anni would overstate the current issue if he is in an opposition. The government is carrying out a day light robbery. The fact is parliament is the mainstream in any democracy and in any presidential system, whether it is France, USA or elsewhere, which maintains the check and balance of executive.
If not I wonder why government seeks the permission of the parliament for the 2011 budget. Does anyone knew how many times presidents of the US has to wait for the approval of the senate to make appointments to their administrations.
On the other hand, the constitution and the dhivehi language has become a feeble one in this presidency which has never happened in any previous presidency. The freedom of media, which Anni had vituperatively advocated yesterday, had hindered. The living cost has hiked dramatically. The social fabric is deteriorating. The political appointees are soaring day by day. The private sector is weakening and the banks are becoming more thrifty to lend credit. I just wonder why the parliament should go for an appeasement?
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