Press barred as govt shares state of Maldives’ finances with Parliament committee

Finance Minister Dr. Mohamed Shafeeq. (Photo/People's Majlis)

The Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee decided to hold a closed meeting on Monday, as it clarified information from the government regarding the exact state of the country’s finances.

The committee had summoned Finance Minister Dr. Mohamed Shafeeq for the meeting.  

But opening the meeting, the committee’s chair, Maamigili MP Qasim Ibrahim announced that Shafeeq was unable to attend the meeting due to poor health.

Qasim said that Shafeeq had provided the information the committee requested, in writing.

Monday’s meeting was attended by all 11 members of the committee. Journalists had also been present at the start of the meeting.

But during the meeting, the Parliament’s Deputy Speaker, Dhiggaru MP Ahmed Nazim said that given the sensitivity of the information under discussion, the finance minister had requested for a closed meeting.

Nazim said that though Shafeeq was unable to attend the meeting, it should be closed to the public, regardless.

“In his first response to us, the finance minister said he wishes to have a closed meeting. Therefore, the information he sent was under this condition,” he said.

Seven out of 11 committee members agreed with Nazim.

Speaking earlier, Nazim said the committee should also summon the governor of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), Ali Hashim, and auditor general Hussain Niyazy, to get a better understanding of the financial situation.

It had been Nazim who suggested a parliamentary inquiry into the state of the country’s finances.

At a parliamentary sitting earlier this month, Nazim said the Parliament should find out the exact state of the finances.

“The election season is over. What I am saying is, let us tell the people to face the reality. That we have dark days ahead, otherwise. We cannot get a clear picture unless the Finance Ministry shows us,” he said.

Nazim said that the government must not allow the country to go bankrupt, and it must see what it can do, and what it needs to handle the situation.