PPM unveils economic plan, to release full manifesto in “days”

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has said it expects to release its full manifesto both in print and online in the next 48 hours.

After the party yesterday (August 30) unveiled its economic policy, PPM Youth Wing President Dhunya Maumoon was quoted as saying that a full manifesto document would be available to the public in the next “couple of days”, according to local newspaper Haveeru.

PPM Presidential Candidate Abdulla Yameen is the last individual contesting the election on September 7 not to have launched his full manifesto.

His rivals; MP Gasim Ibrahim of the Jumhoree Party (JP); President Dr Waheed – standing as an independent – and former President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have all released blueprints for their respective plans if elected to office.

Yameen – half brother of former autocratic President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – has this week nonetheless detailed key factors of the PPM’s economic policy should he become head of state.

According to Sun Online, the policy will include attempts to lower current interest rates on loans for develop tourism or fisheries businesses. He expressed concern that while interest on loans was offered by the country’s banks at a rate between 10 to 12 percent, members of public with savings in these same banks were receiving between three to four percent of their deposited funds.

Yameen was quoted pledging to try and curb the difference between the costs associated with borrowing and saving in the Maldives in line with other countries.

Current tourism Minister and PPM Deputy Leader Ahmed Adheeb also helped unveil the party’s economic policy, pledging to oversee “serious changes” to the country’s economy at macro-level.

According to Sun Online, Adheeb unveiled the party’s plan to launch ‘economic regions’, while also showing videos detailing several harbour constructions and a proposal for an airport in Kulhudhuffushi.

Minister Adheeb was not responding to calls at time of press, while Minivan News was awaiting a response from PPM MP Ahmed Nihan concerning the party’s manifesto launch.

Despite holding the largest number of MPs of any party serving in President Waheed’s coalition government, PPM Leader former President Gayoom earlier this week expressed concern that the Maldivian economy had been “seriously damaged and destroyed”.

He argued that Yameen was the only presidential candidate with the required experience to bring economic stability to the country.

JP manifesto

Speaking during the launch of its own manifesto earlier this month, the JP, led by business tycoon and MP Gasim Ibrahim, claimed it expected to finish above the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in the first round of the upcoming presidential election, before securing a second round victory.

JP Policy Secretary Mohamed Ajmal has said the party’s manifesto included a pledge for a ‘holistic’ approach to taxation, promising to introduce income and capital gains tax, and increase taxation of the wealthy.

This would include reducing the 60-70 percent of national income devoted to recurrent expenditure to 40 percent, by investing in local infrastructure and raising revenue through the private sector.

The JP has also launched a ‘Religion and Nationalism’ policy, pledging to strengthen Islam in the Maldives, including the establishment of an Islamic University, introducing Arabic as a teaching medium, strengthening relations and donor ties with other Islamic nations, and making the Quran a mandatory school subject.

Forward with the nation coalition

Meanwhile, President Mohamed Waheed’s ‘forward with the nation’ coalition, which claims to have been the first party to fully outline its election plan after rolling out its policies in July and early August – has outlined four key campaign focuses based around Islam, social protection, education and environment.

Among the incumbent’s pledges are plans to establish “floating hospitals” in the north and south of the country, a 50 percent reduction in household energy bills, opportunities for empowering women along with the provision of social protection and education and vocational training for Maldivians up to 18 years of age.

MDP manifesto ‘Costed and budgeted’

The opposition MDP has published what it calls a ‘Costed and Budgeted’ manifesto, including plans to establish 51,000 job opportunities, a savings scheme for higher education, a student loan scheme, a MVR2000 (US$129) allowance for every single parent and person with special needs, and an allowance of MVR2300 (US$149) for the elderly.

Former President Nasheed also pointed out the importance of introducing a development bank in the Maldives during a rally to launch the full document on August 24.

“Take a look, this manifesto will not contain even a single policy which has not been accounted for. Even if we are asked to submit a budget to the parliament by tomorrow, we are ready to do so,” he said during the launch.

The party has separately unveiled policies based around expanding mid-market tourism through focusing on supporting guesthouses on inhabited islands, and a specific youth development plan focused on sports and entertainment.