The administration should clearly explain the nation’s current economic situation to the people and outline any ‘bitter pill’ which needs to be taken in order to overcome the current economic slowdown, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ahmed Nazim, has said.

“The people of Maldives have to be told these things very honestly. That’s because the expectations of the people and everything is based on what they [the administration]… The people need to know whether projects will be implemented or not. The election season is over now. So I say let us inform the people to face reality, and to learn to confront reality in this moment. If not there are dark days ahead for us,” Nazim said

The people can only grasp the challenges facing the economy when the Ministry of Finance explains the situation properly, he said, going on to highlight that it is in the interest of the people to explain.

“We have to put the interests of not our party, not our own interests, but the interests of the country’s finances first in this committee,” Nazim said.

Nazim said there were lessons to be learned from what happened in Sri Lanka. When Sri Lanka went bankrupt and its economy collapsed, it received scant assistance even from the ‘closest countries’, he said.

“If the basic policies governing the economy are not good, they say it is like giving money to a drunk [addict],” Nazim said, outlining that in order to be considered for assistance, should it be required, a strong framework of basic policies need to be in place.

Nations like Saudi Arabia did not initially provide financial assistance to Pakistan to overcome their economic slowdown for similar reasons, Nazim highlighted. Instead, nations urged organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to push Pakistan to embrace sound policies in terms of the basics, the Deputy Speaker said.

“Saudi Arabia has already banked US$3 billion in Pakistan’s central bank because they had agreed to the ‘bitter medicine’ proposed by World Bank and the IMF,” Nazim said.

“So we may also take a bitter pill, if there is a prescription, we should know that we have that option. [We should know] what can we can do, instead of going along and winding up destitute, which is not an option,” he said.

The Maldives needs to examine its options and consider actions that need to be taken, even if drastic, well before 2025 budget discussions Nazim said.

“Therefore, we should not wait until budget discussion for November but see what we should do now. As they say in English, we should have a hard talk with the Finance Ministry,” the Deputy Speaker said, going on to say that discussions should cut to the truth of the matter.