Aasandha expenditure will increase to 120 percent over the budgeted amount for 2023, the administration expects. While allocation for this year was MVR 1 billion, the 2023 Statement of Fiscal Constraints released by the Ministry of Finance estimates that the state health insurance scheme is projected to cost MVR 2.3 billion by the end of this year.

The ministry noted that the 2024 budget includes cost-cutting measures to reduce the increase in expenditure. The scheme has consistently exceeded budget allocations year-on-year since it was initiated in January 2012.

The Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA), and relevant agencies, had worked to cap the maximum selling price of medicines, but the implementation of these measures had been hampered and the increase in expenditure has so far not been controlled. Failure to efficiently implement such measures has had an adverse impact on the budget, according to the ministry.

When the state budget for this year was prepared, it was expected that bulk procurement of medicines would result in a reduction of MVR 460.7 million. The estimate was based on the expected import of medicines from the first quarter of this year, but work had been delayed due to ‘various reasons’, the ministry said.

More than MVR 730 million was initially allocated for Aasandha this year, an amount that was increased later, in the government proposed supplementary budget by MVR 906.7 million. In 2022, the scheme was budgeted at MVR 1.6 billion, which included the traditional supplementary increase. However, at the end of last year, total expenditure was still over budget; coming in at a total of MVR 1.8 billion.

The Ministry of Finance is responsible for managing the nation’s public finances and has been led by Ibrahim Ameer since the Ibrahim Mohamed Solih Administration came into office on 17 November 2018.

Aasandha Company Limited, led by Managing Director Ismail Azzam Wajeeh, is a fully state-owned enterprise (SOE), established in 2011, tasked with managing the government’s healthcare financing services to all Maldivians.