Former Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer has drawn attention to perceived inaccuracies in President Mohamed Muizzu’s recent statement that the authority to increase the salaries and allowances of administrative staff of local councils lies solely with the parliament. The president made the statement in response to a question from a citizen during his ‘Raeesge Javaabu’ series regarding the salaries of administrative staff of local councils.

Ameer clarified that the remuneration of administrative staff within local councils is established by the National Pay Commission, contrary to the President’s assertion of parliamentary authority.

He stated, “Administrative personnel of local councils are classified as civil servants. The National Pay Commission is the designated authority responsible for determining the remuneration of all civil servants. The Pay Commission adheres to a pay matrix and pay framework. This is not a responsibility of the parliament.”

In his response during the ‘Raeesge Javaabu’ series, President Muizzu highlighted that, according to the Decentralisation Act, local councils are categorised at a relatively low level within the state structure. He identified this classification as the primary obstacle, stating that even if the government, through the Ministry of Finance, wished to raise their salaries, it would be unfeasible due to the current parliamentary classification of local councils.

“At present, only the parliament can resolve this issue. It necessitates concerted efforts within the parliamentary framework.” he said.

The president’s statement, however, contradicts the provisions of the Decentralisation Act. Initially passed in 2010, this Act has faced numerous political and institutional hurdles that have hindered the government from implementing its provisions and decentralising power to local councils. Despite these challenges, the previous government, under the leadership of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, prioritised decentralisation and empowerment of local councils.

Despite the controversy, President Muizzu has reiterated his commitment to increasing the salaries of all civil servants, stating that after considering the nation’s financial situation, the salaries of civil servants will be increased.