President Solih reminisces past difficulties and successes

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during a previous address to the nation. (Photo/President's Office)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has recalled the successes gained by the Maldives even with and by overcoming the difficulties faced in the past five years.

The President recalled these memories in his Republic Day address to the nation today. The President said the situation in Maldives was very different five years ago. The people asked for an end to unrest and danger in the streets and an end to the price of opinion differences with the government, he said. The President said the people wanted to remove the fear faced by journalists and end the power exerted by the government over the other powers of the state.

"The terrible situation of that time has disappeared and the streets are safe today. These five years have ensured that businessmen and ordinary people can move forward with their lives despite differences of opinion,” he said.

The President said that the Maldivian Republic would not be complete without basic services, education and health services for all its citizens. He said that the past five years, they have worked for that and equality of services has been established.

"That is why we introduced free degrees for all students without discrimination. It is the realization of the long-standing dream of parents for their children. What is given to someone can be taken away later. What cannot be taken back is the education given,” he said.

He said pay harmonization and a positive change in workers’ salaries was brought as well. The path to development of the country through decentralization has now been paved by amending the Decentralization Act. 

The five tertiary level hospitals launched during this term are at least a minimum solution for the health sector, he said. Along with this, the President’s address noted that the project of universalization of mental health has also been launched.

"We have started the practical phase of decentralization and expansion of social services throughout the country. We have established safe environments in seven regions of the country to improve the quality of services provided to children in state care and create a safe and secure family environment. We provided the needs of people with disabilities through a system that is suited for most people. We have increased the allowance for people with disabilities,” he said.

He said that the biggest obstacle to these efforts was the global pandemic of COVID-19. He further said that ensured that the people had access to food, medicine and oil without any difficulty even when the country was under lockdown. The President also looked for ways to continue the development projects implemented by the government and made sure that the projects would continue without interruption.

The President noted that Maldives has become the first country in the world to vaccinate everyone despite this difficult situation. Government employees were paid without losing their jobs. The government provided assistance to private individuals and businesses who lost their jobs and their income was vulnerable. 

"Maldives was one of the first countries to open the border. Tourism and the economy have been successful in recovering. COVID-19 is the test of my life in saving the people and Maldives. That was the situation where I was forced to deprive myself of the most sleep,” he said, recalling those terrible days.

The President also said that the work of the new terminal at Velana International Airport, Hanimadhoo Airport and Gan International Airport is already progressing at a fast pace. This is a major economic change and the number of tourists will increase many times by 2028, he said.

Over the past five years, the President said that they have done a lot of practical work to solve the housing crisis in Male' and many islands across Maldives. He also noted that the past few days have been the most strengthened period in the history of Maldives' foreign relations with the international community. As a result, Maldives presided over the 76th UN General Assembly.

"The stability and peace that has been brought to the country in the past five years is the greatest progress. The streets of Male' were kept safe, thanks to a lot of work by the government. It was difficult and hard work against criminal and drug trafficking groups. The police and MNDF played a major role in this effort,” he said.

The President concluded his address by wishing the people peaceful, happy and secure days in the coming years.