Yameen pledges to halve president’s salary, slash wages for political appointees

Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen has pledged to halve the presidential salary and slash the wages of political appointees by 30-50 percent, should he be elected in September.

Yameen also pledged to cut the salaries of independent institutions – which include the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) and the Political Integrity Commission (PIC) – a step he described as pivotal for the country to avoid a sovereign default.

The MP also vowed to work towards reducing the salary and allowances of parliament members. At the same time, he pledged to increase the wages of civil servants.

The PPM presidential candidate also emphasised the need for youth employment, promising 90,000 new jobs for young people across the Maldives by the end of his five year term.

The numbers

The Maldives has one of the highest percentages of government employees to population of any country in the world, at around 11 percent.

Salaries and allowances have also rocketed up, unmatched by government revenue. Much of this growth occurred in the two years leading up to the 2008 election and the introduction of multi-party democracy.

An internal World Bank report leaked in 2010 showed that Increases to the salaries and allowances of government employees between 2006 and 2008 reached 66 percent, “by far the highest increase in compensation over a three year period to government employees of any country in the world.”

With the introduction of the new Constitution and its requirement for an assortment of independent institutions to oversee various aspects of government, the share of the wage bill to revenue soared to “an astronomical 89 percent.”

The President of the Maldives receives a base salary of MVR100,000 (US$6500) per month. During his government’s attempts to reduce civil servant spending on the urging of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), former President Mohamed Nasheed took a voluntary pay cut of 20 percent.

Despite this, the government’s attempt to impose austerity measures was blocked by the Civil Services Commission, leading to a series of scuffles between the Finance Ministry and the CSC.

The opposition at the time, now in power following Nasheed’s controversial resignation in 2012, contested Nasheed’s expenditure on 244 political appointees – a figure partly the result of the government’s early efforts to consolidate state employees under government-owned companies outside the purview of the CSC.

Figures released by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury showed that these 244 appointees were being paid MVR 99 million (US$6.4 million) a year, however Nasheed’s administration contested that this constituted just two percent of the state’s 2011 wage bill, comparing it to the 39 percent that went to the civil service, 24 percent to uniformed bodies, 17 percent to local councils, 10 percent to independent institutions, 5 percent to the judiciary, and 2 percent to parliament.

In comparison, President Waheed’s government during 2012 spent MVR 60 million (US$3.9 million) on 136 appointees, according to figures procured by Sun Online.

At the time, the monthly spend included 19 Minister-level posts at MVR 57,500 (US$3730), 42 State Ministers (MVR 40,000-45,000, US$2600-2900), 58 Deputy Ministers (MVR 35,000, US$2250), five Deputy Under-Secretaries (MVR 30,000, US$1950) and 10 advisors to ministers (MVR 25,000, US$1620).

Overall public expenditure in 2012 increased 12 percent on the previous year.  This was in large part due to measures such as the intensified recruitment and promotion of a third of the police force, and repayment of civil servant salaries cut during the Nasheed era.

The Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) noted that while total expenditure for the year was three percent lower than 2011, this was only due to the government’s failure to pay a large number of bills. Total public debt at the end of 2012 was 72 percent on GDP, the MMA stated.

Meanwhile, the government’s wage bill was in May projected to increase by 37 percent in 2013 as a result of hiring more employees, notably 864 new staff for the police and military – an increase of almost 20 percent.

In its professional opinion on the budget submitted to parliament, the Auditor General’s Office also observed that compared to 2012, the number of state employees was set to rise from 32,868 to 40,333 – resulting in MVR 1.3 billion (US$84.3 million) of additional expenditure in 2013.


11 thoughts on “Yameen pledges to halve president’s salary, slash wages for political appointees”

  1. Actions speak louder than words, since Feb 2012, this has effectively been a "coalition" government of which PPM is part of, the figures speak for themselves.

    We can see that the pre 2008 attempt to bribe voters is still the primary strategy. A strategy which failed miserably and failing now as we speak. Yameen's campaign pledge apart from jailing Nasheed is to prospect for oil. Much like the oil Sheikhs of Arabia it is clearly impossible for this sociopath to even imagine an economy and a society empowered and not subservient to him.

  2. Of course he can halve the president's salary. He has already got more than half the nation's wealth in his own coffers! And most of us know how that money got there too.

  3. Coming from a man who has robbed the country for years with his mafia like crimes, what does he care about a salary drop!! He is still embezleing millions illeagally. This is all bribes in he run up to an election.

  4. ... as if Presidents Salary is an issue when a single resort deal or contract can fetch millions

    But on the bright side, at least Yameen is not talking about drilling the deep ocean floor for oil as an election promise. This one is a more 'over the surface' promise

  5. I never ever thought Yaameen would have come to being this!
    I always knew that action would speak louder than words, but never guessed Yaameen could have uttered this and this loud!
    Now I believe it was Yaameen who said that Nasheed had victory in his bag!
    Looks like YAG has let ignorance surpass reality and let go any chance for 2018 also!

  6. Yeah right. I also heard that Yameen will send a Maldivian to the moon by the end of his 5 year term.

    He and his brother had 30 bloody years and what the f**k did they do? Answers on a postcard please.

  7. The pre2008 Budget is what destroyed the economy. Hasn't recovered since. Who was responsible?

  8. Am an undecided voter and here is what I think at the moment.

    This election looks like a three way contest. MDP's popularity has already reached its peak and will see no increase or decrease keeping the number around 35% maximum.

    As the election date gets nearer the race will become more tight. The most likely scenario for the outcome is Nasheed will lead the first round results with Yameen closely behind and Qasim as 3rd not very far behind. President Waheed will trail a distant fourth with less than 8% votes.

    With no winner in the first round, MDP supporters will be totally disillusioned and without direction or a message after campaigning through out with the odd slogan of "Eh Burun" meaning "from one round"!

    During the run off PPM will be more energized with Qasim backing Yameen which will provide the crucial win for Yameen.

  9. Why would Yameen want to do that now? Is everyone around him rich and happy now?

  10. Ilyas Ahmed,

    I think Gasim will support anybody but Yameen because Yameen is wailting for the opportunity to destroy Gasim for good. Now that Illyas Ibrahim and Umar Naseer also in the fray with Gasim no chance of Gasim supporting Yameen.


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