Mohamed Firuzul Abdulla Khaleel, spokesperson for President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu, has confirmed the incoming administration’s commitment to strengthening state-owned companies without pursuing further privatisation. 

At a press conference on Thursday, concerns regarding the management and financial health of several utilities, including STELCO, WAMCO, Fenaka, and MWSC, were highlighted.

Despite acknowledging the more effective decision-making processes in partially privatised entities, Firuzul emphasised the intention to reinforce corporate governance within the current state-operated framework. 

He said there is an identified need for enhanced financial and administrative operations, as well as the resolution of outstanding debts to small businesses.

Specifically, the Waste Management Corporation (WAMCO) was spotlighted for its lack of a financial audit since 2020, and is suffering from growing financial instability, with a total debt reaching MVR 226 million. 

The absence of a solid business plan and the immediate, unchecked spending to repair aging machinery have contributed to escalating costs. The new administration vows to reverse the trend with innovative plans and technology.

Similarly, Fenaka Corporation is under scrutiny for financial irregularities and inefficiencies. The company’s total debt soared to MVR 4.1 billion in 2022, with a marked rise in staffing levels — from 2,756 employees in 2018 to 8,126 currently — not leading to the expected increase in efficiency. 

Firuzul noted that despite the capabilities for process improvements, such as in billing, Fenaka has not capitalised on these opportunities. The high debt is partly attributed to deficit budgets, with the latest approved deficit of MVR 960 million lacking clear policies for financing.

The new administration’s approach is not to lament past mismanagement but to initiate a robust plan to eradicate the debt burden and improve the corporate governance of these vital service providers.

Firuzul has been clear in stating that the intent of revealing these financial challenges is to inform the public and set the stage for reform, not to place blame. He asserts that the primary focus post-inauguration will be to revive these entities and ensure their long-term independence and efficacy.