Nasheed: Political positions in govt. are not in excess

Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed: Speaker Nasheed stated that forming a Parliamentary Commission to investigate the MMPRC scandal was unnecessary while the Presidential Commission was already investigating the scandal in response to a letter suggesting so by Kaashidhoo MP Jabir on November 5, 2019. (Photo/Parliament)

The Speaker of the Parliament has defended the number of political positions in the government as not excessive.

It was revealed yesterday in the state budget discussion in the Parliament that the number of political positions in the government would stand at 785 and could potentially cost the state MVR 331.2 million in salaries and benefits.

This was a figure of concern that was flagged by several MPs in the discussion yesterday which Speaker Nasheed clarified by stating that the number of political positions included all the employees of the President’s Office.

“Employees of the Presidents' Office are not civil servants,” said Nasheed before stating that if this was taken into it would result in the figure being reduced to something below 400. Nasheed stated that the budget had outlined this fact very clearly.

“So, it would not be wise to state that the information provided to you (MPs) are untrue or mistaken. The correct information is included in the proposed budget,” said Nasheed.

The figure included in the budget starkly contrasted the promise of President Solih in July when he stated that the number of political positions would not increase from the 465 it stood at then.

The highest number of positions are in the President’s Office which has 377 employees. When taking into account figures such as employees working under contracts, the figure increased to 465 in total. The next highest number of political positions are in the Health Ministry which has 109 political positions. Foreign Ministry has 86 political positions.

Around MVR 8.7 billion is estimated to be spent on the salaries and benefits of civil servants under the state budget 2020. The number of civil servants is accounted for at 45,835.