Nasheed: Heads of SOEs aren’t political appointees

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed presides over a parliamentary sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Heads of state-owned enterprises aren’t political appointees, states Parliament speaker Mohamed Nasheed, in a pointed jab at President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

He made the remark upon conclusion of the parliamentary debate on Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb’s decree calling for the formulation of a law on establishment, dissolution, regulation and monitoring of SOEs on Monday.

Nasheed said that heads of SOEs aren’t appointed under Article 115 of Constitution.

Article 115 declares the powers and responsibilities of the president. Article 115 (f) states it is the power and responsibility of the president to appoint people to, and dismiss and accept resignations of people appointed to the cabinet and positions to execute the responsibilities of the president.

Nasheed said that heads of SOEs aren’t political appointees, and that it isn’t necessary their vision and the company direction align with the government’s policies.

“I am certain their vision and the company direction shouldn’t be linked to the whims of political heads of the government,” he said.

Nasheed added that SOEs spend more than the state budget, and need more funds for their payroll than the civil service.

He said that a huge chunk of taxpayer money goes into repayment of loans taken by SOEs, which is sometimes higher than state spending on health and education.

Nasheed’s comments come after State Trading Organization (STO)’s managing director Hussain Amr Mohamed Rashad was dismissed last week, after he refused to back President Solih’s re-election and aligned himself with Nasheed instead.

Amr was dismissed by the Privatization and Corporatization Board (PCB) at President Solih’s direct orders.