President ratifies first amendment to Uninhabited Islands Act

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratifies amendments to Decentralization Act on December 15, 2019. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Muzain Nazim)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Monday ratified the first amendment bill to the Uninhabited Islands Act (Act No. 20/98).

The bill was passed by the Parliament during the 43rd sitting of its third session on Monday, November 28, 2022.

The bill rescinds articles in the law that contravene the Decentralisation Act.

It grants authority to island and city councils to govern, according to set rules and regulations, the lease of uninhabited islands in their respective jurisdictions.

Additionally, the bill also prohibits leaseholders from re-leasing, renting, and commissioning supervision and maintenance work to third parties.

However, the bill does allow leaseholders to employ staff for supervisory and maintenance work.

The bill also specifies visitor policies, including barring leaseholders from charging a visitor's fee.

It defines instances when lease agreements can be terminated, as well.

The bill grants six months from the date of ratification to draw up new regulations and amend existing ones that pertain to the law. Upon ratification, the bill was published in the Government Gazette and is now in effect.