Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad has said that delays in paying wages to some state employees was the result of an “administrative issue” with the Bank of Maldives (BML) that was expected to be resolved by today.
Jihad told Minivan News that there were no issue maintaining civil servant salaries, adding that BML had been unable to credit accounts for the last few days. A BML spokesperson today responded that the company was “not aware of any such issues” concerning payments being made to accounts it held.
Meanwhile, several island councils have said they had not had any issues with providing wages to their staff.
The Maldives government last week said it was working on overcoming “economic difficulties” to cover several months of outstanding premium payments resulting from the Aasandha universal healthcare programme. Authorities are presently facing a 27 percent budget deficit that has already drawn concern from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Late last month the Finance Ministry also ordered all government institutions to immediately reduce their budgets by 15 percent.
However, Jihad denied that the present economic situation was adversely impacting the state’s ability to provide wages to civil servants this month.
“We are expecting crediting to occur as of today,” he said. “This is just an administrative issue with the bank.”
Both Civil Service Commission (CSC) President Mohamed Fahmy Hassan and Parliamentary Financial Committee Head Ahmed Nazim were not responding time of press.
However, a number of island councils have maintained that they have continued to receive state funding without any interruptions.
An official for the North Ari Atoll island of Maalhos’ Council Secretariat told Minivan News this afternoon that he was not aware of any issues concerning paying staff salaries, which had so far been received on time each month.
In Haa Alifu Atoll, Utheemu Island Councilor Asrar Adam said the council also had not experienced difficulties with paying wages
“We have been paying the salaries of the staffs on the last day of each month always and this month’s salary have been paid,” he said.
Island Councilor of Raa Atoll Innamaadhoo claimed that during the time of former President Mohamed Nasheed, the council was given funding for its 2012 salaries in advance – therefore ensuring it did not have any issues in paying staff.
“When our president was here everything went fine, we don’t have to worry about the salaries of 2012,” he said.
The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) last month published its second quarter report for 2012, detailing the majority of government revenue (with the exception of import duties).
The MIRA report highlights a 16.8 percent increase in revenue collected compared to the same period for 2011, attributable to the increase in tourism GST from 3.5 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2012.
Tourism land rent collected for the period was MVR 465.4 million (US$30.2 million) – a drop of 24.9 percent that was 12.3 percent lower than expected.
Airport Service Charge revenue meanwhile fell 18.6 percent, to MVR 172 million (US$11.2 million).
Total revenue collection for the first half of the year was MVR 3.5 billion, an increase of 59.2 percent compared to the corresponding period of 2011, but 8.4 percent lower than projected.