In the midst of ongoing political turbulence and parliamentary stalemate, the Finance Ministry has submitted the proposed 2024 state budget of MVR 49.5 billion to Parliament. This submission follows last week’s proposal of a MVR 6.5 billion supplementary budget for 2023, which if accepted, will push the current year’s budget to MVR 49.3 billion.

President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu, who is set to take office on 17 November, has indicated that he would prefer next year’s state budget to be capped at MVR 49 billion. His stated priority is to align the budget with international financial and credit rating agency standards while also reducing the debt to GDP ratio. However, his administration will have little real say in the next year’s budget, which is subject to parliamentary approval.

Despite the submission, the budget’s passage remains uncertain due to ongoing impasse surrounding a no-confidence motion against Speaker Mohamed Nasheed.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which holds a majority in Parliament, has announced its refusal to cooperate with any parliamentary work, including budget discussions, until the no-confidence motion against Speaker Nasheed is resolved. This decision comes after two consecutive sittings scheduled to debate the motion were cancelled due to the absence of Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla, who is currently on medical leave.

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer has also boycotted Tuesday’s parliament sitting where the 2024 state budget was due to be presented. Ameer’s decision came after receiving legal advice from the Attorney General that the Parliament could not proceed with any other business without first addressing the no-confidence motion.

The Supreme Court has now accepted a petition filed by MDP, which seeks to prevent any other parliamentary sittings from taking place until a decision on the no-confidence motion is reached. 

MDP is asking for a ruling that would compel the Parliament Secretariat to abide by Article 44 of the parliamentary procedure in the event of the Deputy Speaker’s absence during debate on a no-confidence motion against the Speaker.