Opinion divided over budget evaluation deadline

Acting Finance Minister Mahmood Razee has said progress is being made within an ongoing multi-party evaluation of the 2011 State Budget, despite claims by Ahmed Nazim, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, that talks “have not gone well” due to a lack of details on planned state spending.

Opinion appears divided within the ongoing parliamentary joint committee evaluation, which is being overseen by members from both the country’s finance and economic committees, upon how near the budget is to being agreed upon by parliament before the deadline of the New Year.

Razee, who was allowed to present the budget this month despite ongoing battles in the Majlis over cabinet appointments, said he was confident the government could still meet its aims to cut the country’s budget deficit to about 16 per cent, despite allowing for concessions requested by opposition MPs.

The government is under considerable pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce the deficit, which President Mohamed Nasheed last month said was around 26.5 per cent.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Razee claimed that the parliamentary joint committee was generally “committed” to trying to find an agreement that would allow for reductions of the budget deficit. He therefore hoped to have the evaluation completed by Sunday, December 27.

“The basic principles [of the budget] remain the same, the budget deficit needs to be reduced and this is accepted by most parties,” said Razee. “We maybe will need to make some adjustments during the evaluation. A budget deficit of 16 per cent is what we are targeting given the current circumstances.”

Ahmed Nazim conceded that a need to meet a looming New Year deadline to approve the 2011 budget would require members within the parliamentary committee to put aside their political differences and “let bygones be bygones”.

However, the parliament Deputy Speaker claimed that the finance Ministry has “not been communicating” with the Majlis on the budget, a situation he said that was reflected within the evaluation process.

Nazim cadded that anticipated delays in providing information on the budget could make the discussions “go right to the wire” in terms of meeting an evaluation deadline of December 30.

“We are not looking for concessions, the government has a mandate to pursue its own economic policies,” he said. “But there are so many problems with the budget, which is lacking details regarding a number of projects and figures.”

As the evaluation process has continued, Nazim claimed that Information had been arriving “in bits and pieces” to help provide greater detail on budgetary spending, however he said expected that the evaluation process will ultimately take a “long time” to complete.

“We are looking for a reasonable budget,” said Nazim. “Reasonable, like for example, with housing funds, where the government is looking to sell land in Male’, but where is the land that can be sold? They have gone on to say it will actually be land in Huhlumale’ and other islands.”

Due to the levels of cost involved, the Deputy Speaker added that the evaluation committee has “asked for breakdowns” regarding individual expenditure – pointing to an apparent lack of funding in the budget for the Maldives National Broadcasting Corperation (MNBC), despite the government admitting it will be providing money.

“There is no budget [for MNBC], yet they have given Rf54 million [to the broadcaster],” claimed Nazim.

Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed, an independent MP who is not involved with the evaluation committee, said that despite holding some preliminary concerns over spending allocation, particularly in areas such as decentralisation, he believes the budget will be completed within its New Year deadline.

“I think it will be done, there is willingness,” he said.

However, Nasheed claimed that he had been concerned that the initial budget had failed to outline any finance plans for local councils once they are expected to be formed following February’s elections.

IMF concerns

Beyond trying to outline funding of the state for the year of the ahead, the passing of the annual budget within a constitutionally mandated deadline of the end of the calendar year is also being seen as vital to groups such as the IMF.

Back in November the IMF delayed its third disbursement to the country because of the government’s inaction on the matter of the budget deficit during 2010, pending the release of the 2011 budget.

While the IMF program itself is worth US$92.5 million, other foreign donors and investors consider the IMF’s opinion of a country’s fiscal policies when making decisions.


10 thoughts on “Opinion divided over budget evaluation deadline”

  1. Jangiya Nazim pretending he is an expert on Finance and genuinely concerned about the public?

    I am so tired of this shameless man.

    If the man has any decency left in him he would have quit his seat considering the number of allegations on corruption against him.

    It's a shame for the whole country to have someone like him involved in money matters in the Parliament, let alone sitting on one of its seats.

    It shows the true nature and ignorance of this society.

    Dear Parliamentarians. It is not your job to tell the government where and how the money should be spent on. Your job is to look at where the government has said they will spend money and in the next year to find out whether they spend the money as they said they would.

    According to the constitution, spending public money is mandated to the government not the parliament.

    So better sit down in your chairs and start making laws for the people instead of poking your fingers into places where you can get an extra dime.

  2. @ The Cat.
    "According to the constitution, spending public money is mandated to the government not the parliament."

    According to the constitution parliament is mandated to pass the budget and that gives the executive power to spend public money.
    The only reason why the aspirations of Maldivians failed to realize is the incapability as well as manipulative and corrupt nature of the business of the executive branch. Opposition controlled majority is a consequence of their failure to work with the coalition which brought them to power.If something needs to be done based on allegations, I guess we need to bring some aliens to the 3 branches of government. With all our politicians we can go to Somalia or Zimbabwe to get some practical surviving skills before we become a nation like that. The aliens will rule Maldives with the expatriate population.Gudho gudho goviyakas mihaaru vaane kameh noannaane. Maybe its too late now to bring meaningful changes. Instead of informing the public regarding the consequences of our status in the corruption index the executive could have taken some meaningful action within these 2 years. Because of their greed change had become a lost opportunity.

  3. These are bunch of crooks now led by Yameen the biggest mafia Don we have seen in our life time. This long road of democratization has taken us back 5 years. Anni must have the guts to deliver and keep these thugs and corrupt politicians where they belong. In Jail.

  4. I thought there was a court case in process involving Jangiyaa Nazim and his corruption scandals.

    What has happened to the case/s? This has been going on for so long, it's hardly credible that the public will see any justice in this process.

    Jangiyaa has had plenty of time to hide all evidence against him. Jangiyaa ain't no fool; he didn't get to where he is without compromising a lot of people.

  5. Yet another ridiculous budget, way over our means. The income forecasts are like fairy tales. An example of such a fairy tale: getting a taxation bill through Parliament!

    The day, I see such a bill through Parliament will be the day the Sun rises from the West!

  6. The budget is a deficit budget which is going to be over 5 billion deficit as the incomes are unreal.. The MDP crooks are looking forward to cash in, we saw 21 Million USD project to Reeko Moosa and Mga Maldives to Maria Didi, I think now it is going to be for Maizan family to distribute some of the corrupt money. These crooks will eat the country and eun away by 2013 afer giving the country a deficit of 22 billion MRF

  7. Budget tree is growing in every house of Maldives. Every commodity is within reach!

    How can a mad case, who used to run after the Police with a pair of dirty slipper in one of his hands, give a 'thaahiru' living to the people?

    It will be utter madness to think of such a pipe dream of someone who said keeping to your sanity 24hours in not even necessary!

  8. Parliament needs to do their work in accordance with the Constitution for the Executive and Judiciary to start functioning.

  9. @Heck

    Wot on the heck are you talking?? You are able to express yourself like this because someone has done the chasing around the narrow alleys of Male' with two sandals slipped into his arm and rolled up trousers!! Go get a heck of a life man!!

  10. @Hassan

    Some people take all their rights for granted.

    Such people cannot value any of their rights or freedoms, or use them responsibly, or wish the same rights for others because they simply cannot appreciate its worth.

    These are people that'll bite the hand that fed them, use their democratic rights to fight democracy and randomly abuse the very people that gave them the right to open their mouth in the first place.


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