Saleem calls for pay of public officials to be cut to under MVR 20,000

Eydhafushi MP Ahmed Saleem (Redwave Saleem). (File Photo/People's Majlis)

Eydhafushi MP Ahmed Saleem, on Sunday, called for the salaries of all public officials to be cut to under MVR 20,000.

Saleem made the appeal during the debate on a one-year stay on fiscal limits requested by the Finance Minister to access MVR 4.2 billion in emergency funding from the central bank at the virtual parliamentary sitting this morning.

Saleem said the current economic crisis, linked with the COVID-19 pandemic, wasn’t unique to Maldives, and that the Maldives needed to impose extensive cuts on State expenditure.

He called for an immediate cease to the payment allowances to former presidents.

And if former presidents have any loyalty towards this nation, they will voluntarily cease taking the allowances they are entitled to, he said.

“There should not be any public official who is earning above MVR 20,000 or MVR 25,000, even if it’s the President of the Republic himself,” said Saleem.

Saleem said that all of the President’s expenditures were covered by the State, and asked that the President refrain from taking his salary for the next six months.

He also said that the salaries of parliamentarians should also be cut down to MVR 20,000, and an additional MVR 500 allowance be paid for attendance to virtual parliamentary sittings.

He urged similar cuts to the salaries of political appointees.

“And, not one cent must be cut from the salaries of civil servant,” said Saleem.

Saleem said the Finance Minister’s thoughts were towards keeping State expenditure leveled, but that he should instead be cutting expenditures and halting projects.

 “We should now return the 2013 budget. If I remember correctly, it was a MVR 17 billion budget, and the 2014 budget was MVR 21 billion. We need to lower ourselves to that level. And when we need to lower ourselves, we must,” said Saleem.

He said that failure to take measured action would only exacerbate the criris.