Privileges Bill will see Maldives MPs earning on par with Sweden

A comparison of Maldivian MPs salaries and allowances with those of MPs in other countries reveals that should the recently-passed MP Privilieges Bill be ratified, Maldivian MPs will earn thousands more than their counterparts in many developed countries.

The comparative list, currently being circulated by protesters on the ‘Majlis Membarunge Musaara Bodu kurumaa Dhekolhah’ Facebook group lobbying against the recently-passed MP Privileges Bill, notes that Majlis MPs have voted themselves a total monthly salary increase from US$4863 to US$7083 (including base salary and allowances of $US1667), despite the country having a crippling budget deficit of over US$370 million.

According to the comparison, also available as an interactive graph, an Indian MP earns US$5966 per month, a French MP US$6651 and an Italian MP US$6936.

In fact if the bill were ratified in its current state, a Maldivian MP would earn just US$215 a month less than MPs in Sweden, one of the world’s most highly developed economies and ranked ninth in the United Nations’ Human Development Index. The Maldives ranked 86th.

Ahmed Adheeb, a local financial consultant in the private sector, observed that MPs were seeking to raise their salaries and allowances at a time when the country was in a “very critical economic situation”, and under pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to drastically cut the wage bill for civil servants and independent institutions.

“I hope the President does not ratify it, for the sake of the country,” he said, suggesting that neither parliament or the independent institutions had performed to a standard befitting a substantial pay increase in a climate of economic catastrophe.

“Parliament and independent institutions are trying to give themselves increased pay and benefits without justifying what the country is getting in return – for instance, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has not concluded a case since 2008,” he observed.

“We haven’t had an Auditor General appointed for over a year. Banks are investing in T-bills and bonds because they feel they are more secure, and so they are giving loans to the private sector. The Maldive Monetary Authority (MMA)’s foreign exchange reserve is falling. Everyone, including the IMF, has agreed we are in bad shape.”

While the deficit had improved to 16 percent of GDP, this was in part due to several “once-off” income events such as the US$78 million upfront payment from Indian infrastructure giant GMR.

“I think people need to realise how bad the situation is – very few people are talking about the economy,” Adheeb said.

DRP MP Rozaina Adam, who voted in favour of the MP Privileges Bill, said the party had a whip line “and most MPs wanted to pass it”.

“It’s unfortunate that parliament has to decide its own salary,” she noted. “Ministers don’t decide their own salaries, we do it. On the other hand, it is written in the constitution that we determine our own.”

Rozaina explained that the figure of Rf 62,500 (US$4883) commonly given as the MPs salary “is not our full salary – it includes our living allowances, phone bills, secretariat, travel.”

It was also important to note, she said, that in the Maldives an MP’s salary “is also seen as a welfare fund by many people. If anything goes wrong, constituents go to their MPs. It has been like this for a long time now, and I feel we need to move out of it – these are things that are supposed to be done by the government, but it has been a tradition for a long time to ask MPs. When someone comes and says their nine year-old needs a kidney transplant, it is hard to say no. In the long term, this means that only rich people can be MPs.”

Nonetheless, Rozaina said, protests outside parliament over the MP’s salary increases “don’t really reflect what the public is thinking. Most of [the protesters] were MDP supporters. I think the government is very unpopular at the moment, and because of that the President is trying to degrade the work of parliament. and the government is doing its best to make people think parliament is not doing enough. After the bill was passed I travelled to Haa Alif and Haa Dhaal Atolls and nobody was talking about it there, and there were no protests.”

Adheeb suggested that because of the penchant in parliament and independent institutions for members to approve themselves salary increases, “I propose an independent commission to structure the pay scale, linked to the economy and bench-marked against the private sector – because it is the private sector that generates the income for the government.”

The country’s fledgling democracy, he said, was proving too expensive for the economy to sustain.

“The Constitution cannot be financed like this. When democracy first arrived in the US, people gave their own time to work in the Senate,” he noted.

Further taxing the private sector to fund a bloated state wage bill, he said, such as with the recently-passed Business Profit Tax, could not be done without improving confidence in the private sector.

“We have not had a direct tax on businesses before, instead we have had duties and a high import tax, relative to other countries, and businesses have passed the tax on to the public. Businesses prefer direct taxes, because it is a tax after profit rather than a tax on imports during operations. But my concern is not so much increased taxes, but whether the money that is being collected is being invested in good purposes.”

None of the three arms of state, or any of the independent institutions, were really concerned with the economy, Adheeb said, “just their own policies and agendas.”

“Parliament has passed a budget with a huge deficit, but if you see any of their statements, they say they are worried about the economy. Yet now they are increasing their benefits.”

MP’s salaries compared:

MP’s monthly salary (US $):7,083
(Base Salary: 5,416 & Allowance: 1,667)
GDP (US $) (2009 est): 1.683 billion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est): -$370 million

Sri Lanka
MP’s monthly salary (US $):877
Plus Rs 500 for every parliamentary session
GDP (US $) (2009 est): 96.47 billion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$291 million

MP’s monthly salary (US $):5,966
GDP (US $) (2009 est):3.68 trillion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$26.63 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):9,264
GDP (US $) (2009 est):251.2 billion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):32.63 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):8,552
GDP (US $) (2009 est):2.123 trillion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$23.65 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):14,500
GDP (US $) (2009 est):14.12 trillion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$378.4 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):9,687
GDP (US $) (2009 est):321.6 billion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):8.73 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):6,651
GDP (US $) (2009 est):2.094 trillion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$51.86 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):6,936
GDP (US $) (2009 est):1.737 trillion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$66.2 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):7,298
GDP (US $) (2009 est):335.1 billion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):30.23 billion

Interactive comparison:


29 thoughts on “Privileges Bill will see Maldives MPs earning on par with Sweden”

  1. Thank you JJ for the information.

    To DRP MP Rozaina Adam:
    well-informed Public is all i have to say. you do not hear anything in haa alifu because they haven't got a slightest of clues to where our economy stands, what GDP and economy even means?
    thats just such a lame excuse you greedy MPs, heartless really!

    God! You MPS thought you will squeeze us till the last drop.The whole Parliament should resign!!!!!!

  3. Thank you MPs. You have earned the money.
    In addition when u serve for one term you get pension as well.

    Good, let us feel the taste of our judgements by selecting you idiots.

  4. It is really a pity that we hardly have any “non-partisan” Non-Governmental Organizations in the Maldives, either they are die hard opposition supporters or they are children of highly paid political figures siphoning away state funds.

    Though I do not want to waste too much time reasoning with a hardcore MDP fan base here at Minivannews, I would still like to highlight the obvious that the entire article is based on a loose set of numerals’ that are meant to deceive the average reader but I will take the time to visit one of those numeral's and compare it with the salary and benefits of a Maldivian Parliamentarian and a Parliament member in Australia.

    1. Maldives (1USD = 12.85 MRF)
    a)Basic salary – MRF 42,500 = 3307 USD
    b)Living allowance – MRF 20,000 = 1556.42 USD
    c)Committee allowance – UPTO MRF 20,000 = 1556.42 USD (recently passed)

    In total: MRF 62,500 and a variable committee allowance that may go up to a limit of MRF 20,000 per month

    d) Medical Insurance

    2. Australia
    a)Basic salary – AUD 127,060 = USD 129,705.77 (1 AUD = 1.02082 USD)
    Monthly = USD 10,808 = MRF 188,882.8

    b)Electorate allowance – AUD 27,300 = USD 27,862.11
    Monthly = USD 2321.84 = MRF 29,834.67

    c)Additional Electorate allowance or Private Plated Car – AUD 19,500 = USD 19,900.09
    Monthly = USD 1658.34 = MRF 21,309.66
    In total: MRF 240,027.13 per month.

    d)In addition to that they also receive the following benefits –

    1.Transfer of bulk papers to and from Parliament House and the member's electorate office.

    2.Australian flags and printed material related to national symbols, for presentation to constituents.

    3.The cost of postage in relation to Parliamentary or electorate business (other than party business), not exceeding an annual amount of $9,000.

    4.Personalized letterhead stationery.

    5.The cost of acquiring publications from the Australian Government Bookshop as approved by the Presiding Officers.

    6.Photographic services provided in Parliament House as approved by the Minister.

    7.Office accommodation in the electorate, together with equipment and facilities necessary to operate the office, as approved by the Minister.

    8.For travel in Australia for purposes related to Parliamentary or electorate business:
    (a) the cost of first-class scheduled commercial services; and
    (b) the use of official cars; and
    (c) The use of special purpose aircraft as approved by the Minister for Defense.

    9. (1) For travel overseas as a member of a Parliamentary Delegation within a program approved for each calendar year by the Prime Minister:
    (a) the cost of travel in accordance with the official itinerary (or, if it is cheaper, a round-the-world ticket); and
    (b) equipment and clothing allowances equivalent to the appropriate Australian Public Service standard; and
    (c) the cost of official hospitality extended by the delegation; and
    (d) the cost of medical and hospital services received by the member; and
    (e) use of special purpose aircraft as approved by the Prime Minister; and
    (f) for the leader of a minority party, with the approval of the Prime Minister, the cost of travel, at the appropriate Australian Public Service standard, of a member of staff accompanying the leader.

    Members of Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Act 2002

    The Life Gold Pass entitles eligible former parliamentarians to travel within Australia for "non-commercial" purposes at government expense.

    More benefits -

    There are many things I could write about this article and its numbers, since it’s just political crap but one example is enough.

  5. Mr President show us you are not scared of these greedy Mps and you care for the nation more than you care for the power! No ratify.

  6. @ woopy
    You compare the Maldives to the developed democracy and economy of Australia in such detail, but to prove what?

    Australia :
    Population approx, 22.5 million
    House of Rep. members = 150
    1 MP per population of about 150,000

    Maldives :
    Population just over 300,000
    MPs = 77
    1 MP per population of barely 4000

    What is your point exactly ?
    It is a privilege for a constituent in this country to even have access to their so-called representative!!
    So what exactly do they DO to earn their self-paid salaries ? F all !!
    For Maldivian MPs, its a job on the side while they spend time running their private businesses. Being an MP helps when you run a private business.
    I wonder how many Australian MPs actually do their MP job as a hobby to facilitate their private businesses, as they do here?

    Put your web search skills for better uses and learn a bit of common sense.

  7. My God! What a delusional woman this Rozaina is!

    If I remember correctly she spent some time in university studying economics and was teaching in lower secondary when Gayoom swept her off the feet and placed her in the Parliament as his 'backdoor' member some years ago.

    I used to be your student and you know what? You are the worst teacher I ever had!

    So your blabbering up there isn't surprising for me.

    Rozy, Let me clue you in here.

    Please remember that whenever there is a need for reform, you will find plenty of MDP activists around.

    I'm afraid its just the way it is.

  8. @woopy: can you write the same analysis about the salary packages of say, a medical specialist in public sector in maldives vs in Australia? I bet you wont coz in Australia many many other pulic employees are paid far more than that of MPs. And all other government staff who does similar work such as senior managers are paid similar pay packages as MPs.

    You need to look at the median and average salaries of Australia vs their MP salaries and then compare that with the median and average salaries of Maldives vs our MP salaries. Once you do this you will agree that Maldivian MPs are dispropotionately overpaid far beyond the imagination of even their harshest critics.

  9. we should also note here that the size of Anni government is the largest in the world (taking the population in to consideration).

  10. The problem is Anni is trying to play by the rules. Sometimes the rules have to be evaded because its been taken advantage of. Once a salary is marked up, its impossible to bring it down. So before this madhouse called Majlis gets more crazy, somebody has to take action. Anni is in a position to become Mandela now, but once he is voted out by DRP (could be likely) it wouldn't be that easy...

  11. Hypocrisy does not cover this. It is self delusion on the most massive scale. This is the hang over from the previous regime and it is greedy and self indulgent and rotten to the core. Those voting for their own pay rise at a time when there is a global financial crisis should be ashamed. Warped, vulgar and corrupt.

  12. by the time all the island councils and city councils are formed and their secretariats are staffed the entire budget will be just for running the government offices and nothing for development.

    there will be still a budget deficit so the honorable mps will pass another bill introducing massive income taxes,while of course exempting themselves as a privilege.

    mps will foreign exchange control bills so that investors will get scared.

    maldives will sink not from global warming but by the weight of government budget.

  13. @woopy

    looks like your dad is in the parliament or you want to run for the parliament next term. or maybe you're already in it. but in your attempt to discredit this article you only made a fool of yourself and how short-sighted you are...your knowledge of the world and probably your exposure to it is quite limited. if you really love this nation you would identify yourself. the rest of the people need to know the 'roanu edhurun' of this country. education has made you more of a liability than an asset. what a shame...

  14. Rosainna's remarks show the true colours of our politicians. We need a total overhaul a peoples revolution to bring these blood suckers including President Nasheed and rest of the executive under control.

  15. Please dont forget that our MPs salaries are not subject to any taxes whereas their Swedish counterparts' are. So in effect they are paid more. If only our MPs perform as well as the Swedes :/

  16. This is every where. Pick any country in the world, the politicians are the best paid with immense power and why not. Even if they utter nonsence, we cheer and clap for them.

  17. Greedy MPs of Maldives should be controlled.Their aim is to suck our blood and get rich before their term is over. Besides the salary they also sell their vote to business men and are taking millions while not doing anything to the country. We need to stop these leeches before our economy is destroyed. They think they are above all.

  18. Got to laff @ Roz's attempts to turn this into a party political problem ! MPs of all colors voted FOR the bill -

    "The bill, which was submitted by Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed, was passed with 44 ‘yes’ votes, 21 ‘no’ votes and 10 abstentions."

    And some of them then attempted to wiggle out of responsibility by saying things like they didn't have time to read the bill ! (So what are they getting paid for??) Or that they NEED SOME CASH to pass on to their constituents ! (This is exactly what Gayoom used to do...mix the public & private pockets, and pay favors to the people that he liked).

  19. Mainly yes votes came from the opposition. It could be an attempt to discredit the Government by putting such a lump that can make it difficult to manage the budget. This is another mean attempt to ensure that this Government would fail or if not to make sure that the work of the Government would be hard as hell. For any MDP MPs who voted for it, he/she is silently making the most out of it and taking advantage. MDP should not consider anyone of their party members who voted for this bill, is their friend and good willed representative. On the other hand, all MPS are greedy, self centered, and definitely not unhappy they get such a chunk out because of this bill. Respect is earned not bought. It is an illusion to think that when they sit in their cars or extend their red passports and walk with their nose in the air, they are somebody. NO. Maldivians will never forget any MPS of NOW and how they abused the trust.

  20. @saalhanga... you need to read the article again..understsand it..and try read woopys comment again...and try to make sense of the messsage..
    its obvious that you dont have a clue how numbers can be loosely used to give a different picture...n e one can search teh web, but few can make sense of the infomation

  21. Im surprised when JJ Robinson did the analysis forgot about the allowances that the other country MPs used to get through their parliament. For example in United states of America.
    MP’s monthly salary (US $):14,500
    JJ forgot or ignored their allowances.
    US MP's Annually get (US $):2.3 million (Monthly US $ 191,666.66) This is allocated for their office space, secretariat, and other MP related works.
    Mr. JJ Please be more responsible and don't try to mislead our people.

  22. can't believe some people are attempting to compare Maldives with countries such as US or Australia in this.

  23. Way to go Adheeb, you are the hero trying to save our economy, keep it up and do not fear to any party government or Hooigans Around !! We are with you !!

  24. Rozaina, are you trying to wriggle out of your beliefs and vote because this has turned very unpopular?

    "Trying to hold up party line" is who's line?!!!

    "If anything goes wrong, constituents go to their MPs. It has been like this for a long time now, and I feel we need to move out of it – these are things that are supposed to be done by the government, but it has been a tradition for a long time to ask MPs."

    So you know this is wrong but you still push this way and try to deflect blame?!!!

    woopy, pls do some homework.

    And Ronaina Adam too.
    "US MP’s Annually get (US $):2.3 million (Monthly US $ 191,666.66) This is allocated for their office space, secretariat, and other MP related works."

    Our population of 350,000 as against 350mill? I'll help you. Take 3 zeroes off and voila they earn less than 200$ a month?

    Pls don't try to input fancy figures!

  25. Okay Mini Van News, since you are reluctant to publish my previous comment, why not publish this one?

    To further help you, I would also comment something in-line with the subject of the article.

    Honourable MPs, please stop this nonsense.

    [readers, trick is to visit my website]

    Please refer points 2 and 5 of our commenting guidelines before posting links to potentially offensive content. -Minivan News


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