The government has today marked its first hundred days’ achievements by making further pledges and demanding a parliamentary majority as a requirement for their fulfilment.
Minister at the President’s Office, Abdulla Ameen described it as “the best first hundred days in the history of Maldives in terms of achievements” at a press conference held to highlight the new administration’s economic and social achievements.
“In order to continuously benefit from the achievements among the first hundred days pledges, it is very important to have legal empowerment; that is why the government is working to get as many seats in the parliament,” said Ameen.
Although the government announced a series of goals that it said would be achieved within the first hundred days of Abdulla Yameen’s presidency, it was not made clear at today’s press briefing how much of the programme had been achieved.
One of the key achievements highlighted from the Education Ministry was the introduction of Qur’an to grades 6 and 7 as a separate subject. The subject had previously been just one element of Islamic Studies classes.
Minister of Education Dr Aishath Shiham stated that the ministry had “started working on” 22 goals announced to be achieved within the one hundred days.
Focusing particularly on the policy of “leaving no child behind” she highlighted the decision to allow students to learn technical skills through Maldives Polytechnic, the introduction of O’ Level standard technology subjects, and working to further incorporate language and nationalism into the education system.
While the ministry’s hundred day plan included establishing special education units in five schools, and two dedicated regional, Dr Shiham today said the ministry “will open more opportunities for children with special needs within the year”.
She noted that work is in progress with regards to increasing allowances for teachers.
Commenting on the minister’s statement, President of the Teachers Association of Maldives Athif Abdul Hakeem said the organisation had no knowledge of such efforts, and was still awaiting an opportunity to meet with ministry heads with regards to pay discrepancies.
“The government have started some things within this period, and they maybe important things and good policies. But it is more important to fix the existing loopholes in the education system,” said Athif.
He said the association was still planning to go on with the nation-wide strike “as a last resort” and that it was currently in the process of gaining parents’ support for the cause.
The achievements of Ministry of Health and Gender were relatively high compared to other institutions, with Minister Dr Mariyam Shakeela noting that the pledge to increase staff at health centers had seen 76 new nurses employed at IGMH, with a further 38 nurses employed and 62 awaiting employment in Hulhumalé and in the atolls .
“We are contacting medical students studying abroad to direct their training to our needs and recruit them for service. We have also sent job offers for foreigners as well,” Shakeela said, noting that the ministry was also working to find more training opportunities for locals.
While free cervical cancer screening was introduced at Malé ‘Dhamanaveshi’, the ministry failed to introduce the service at HulhumaléHospital as pledged. The minister said that 57 people have been screened at the center and the ministry was working on providing further help in case a person is found positive for cervical cancer.
The ministry pledged to introduce free public transport for the elderly and persons with disabilities, however it was only able to give special consideration for them at service counters for health and some other public services.
While an MoU has been signed between the Education Ministry and Health Ministry with regards to school health programmes, the preparation for another screening of school children has already begun.
“As you know, this sort of things in health sector cannot be achieving at once within a single day. It has to be planned in a certain way,” Shakeela added.
The ministry also achieved the goal of building safe houses for women, children, and persons with disabilities, and finding an easy way for mothers to receive child support money following divorce. The ministry has started working on arranging child support money to be delivered to a special trust fund.
Dr Shakeela said that IGMH chemotherapy services have been arranged and will be covered by Aasandha, and the necessary medicines for the procedure are “on the way to Maldives”.
She said that a psychiatrist is working in Kulhudhuffushi and another will be stationed in Addu City starting tomorrow – the first time such specialists have been stationed outside Malé.
Collection of information has begun for “a doctor for every family” program at Villimalé and Addu City and general practitioners have been allocated for both areas.
Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adeeb said that in terms of economic development within the first hundred days, the government has “completed ground work and is heading towards an action plan”.
He said that within a week the government will open for detailed proposals for building the bridge between Malé and Hulhumalé.
Another economic achievement was “reducing state expenditure” and aiming for a balanced budget within a year by reducing the deficit.
Adeeb said 70 percent of the Progressive Party of Maldives economic manifesto depended on the recently drafted “special economic zones bill” and that regional development and population consolidation cannot be achieved without such a bill.
He said that research is going on with a number of pledges such as gas and oil explorations, and ports within the special economic zones. With regards to developing Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, the consultants for runway building and axiom financing are in the country now.
Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Maleeh Jamal said the cabinet’s economic council met almost every day from 10:30am till 12:30pm and has met with companies in which the government holds shares – such as STO, MTCC, HDC, MACL – to find solutions for various challenges.
He credited President Yameen’s official visit to India for finding a solution to the Construction material issue and said it was great achievement within the hundred days. India’s restrictions with regards to construction material came in 2012 following strained bilateral relations under Dr Mohamed Waheed’s presidency.
“They [IMF and investors] noted that peace and stability has come to the Maldives following the inauguration of the country’s elected government, President Yameen’s government. Protests all around the country has come to an end,” Maleeh said.
An online poll by ‘Haveeru‘ has indicated that more than 52 percent people believed the first hundred days of President Abdulla Yameen’s government was a failure.