President Mohamed Nasheed has said that one third of the Maldives population are poor people, despite the Maldives being a country rich with natural resources and able fulfill all the basic needs of the government.
Speaking at an information session yesterday on the Maldives’ social protection program, President Nasheed said that the country’s GDP showed that the country earned US$7000-US$8000 per head.
The only government could compensate for the disparity in incomes was through government aid, said President Nasheed, ”but there are a lot of difficulties for people to receive this money.”
President Nasheed said the government had introduced 10 types of direct aid to the people.
”When one’s salary has to be spent on shelter, it makes him lessen the amount of care given to a child,” President Nahseed said, ”and there will be no money to spend for the children’s education and no money to maintain good health.”
President Nasheed said that the government was seeking ways that would make its revenue to spend in other beneficial ways.
”Our former president spent Rf 500 million annually to operate the presidential palace,” Nasheed said. ”We decreased it to 50 million and used the left 450 million to introduce allowances for the elderly.”
He said there were 32,000 civil servants with salaries of Rf 5 billion.
”To determine whether it is wise to decrease that amount we know what it is being spent on,”‘ he said. ”Some of this could be used for social protection.”
He said the more the government decreased its expenditure, the more social protection increases.
”if we spent all the money on a block of lifeless concrete, it would not be beneficial,” he said, ”instead we shall spend it on the people.”