Nasheed: Budget depleted, salaries dependent on foreign aid

Central Machangolhi MP Mohamed Nasheed. (Photo/People's Majlis)

The Parliament’s former Speaker, Central Machangolhi MP Mohamed Nasheed warned on Wednesday that the government will not be able to pay civil servants salaries by the end of the year, unless it receives a significant injunction of foreign aid.

During the parliamentary debate on the 2023 supplementary budget on Wednesday morning, lawmakers from Nasheed’s Democrats raised a point of order, objecting that the budget was submitted by “a minister and government that has lost all public confidence.”

They said that the MVR 6.5 billion proposed supplementary budget had already been depleted, even before its passage.

Speaker Mohamed Aslam rejected the point of order, and instructed for the debate to proceed.

During the debate, Nasheed accused the outgoing administration of “complete mismanagement of public funds” over the last five years.

“President Solih’s administration does not know how to manage the cashflow,” said Nasheed, adding that the extent of the mismanagement was becoming clearer with each passing day.

“It is clear the budget is already depleted. This is taxpayer money. This must be spent with care. We will not have any means to pay salaries by the end of December, unless there’s a significant injunction of cash from foreign countries.”

Nasheed said the outgoing administration was on a journey to bankrupting the country.

“I am grateful that we got saved from this administration,” he said.

Central Henveiru MP Ali Azim. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Central Henveiru MP Ali Azim, the minority leader, reaffirmed Democrats’ assertion that the supplementary budget had already been spent, accused the outgoing administration of stealing from the public.

“The secretariat has been scheduling sittings under duress every day since we said no on September 30. This Parliament passed this year’s budget. Now they are asking for another MVR 6 billion with two days left until they leave office. The former Speaker will not allow for taxpayer money to be spent,” he said.

Azim said that Aslam – who got elected as Speaker on Monday – had forced himself upon the seat.

“Show me a reason why we should approve another MVR 6 billion. Show me how its going to be spent in one month. How? We should give an additional MVR 6 billion with just one month left until the end of the year?” he said.

Lawmakers from Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) expressed outrage over the allegations, and asked for the passage of the bill to be expedited.