The Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) has drawn criticism from the opposition for laying off a significant number of staff. While the exact number remains undisclosed, these dismissals come in the wake of fiscal reform measures announced by the Mohamed Muizzu administration.

Reports indicate that approximately 30 staff members from MIFCO’s Kooddoo Fisheries Complex in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll have been let go. The reason cited for their dismissal is alleged irresponsibility in discharging their duties. However, some employees who spoke to local media refuted this claim, asserting that even responsible and punctual staff members have been affected.

MIFCO spokesperson Ibrahim Saeed confirmed the layoffs with the local media outlet Adhadhu. According to Saeed, staff members who consistently failed to adhere to work schedules or neglected their duties for extended periods without prior approval were subject to dismissal. He emphasised that these actions align with MIFCO’s policies.

Meanwhile, the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has dismissed Ahmed Shain, an operations officer. The dismissal notice, issued on 8 July, cited Shain’s failure to attend work for three consecutive days without notice. However, Shain disputes this claim, asserting that he was present at work on the day the dismissal notice was issued. He further revealed that his inquiries about the decision were met with the response that it was purely “political” in nature.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) swiftly condemned HDC’s action. In a statement, the MDP accused HDC of dismissing Shain based on his political ideology. Shain had recently participated in an MDP rally to recite the Holy Quran, which the MDP believes led to his dismissal. The party highlighted that every citizen has a constitutionally guaranteed right to hold political opinions and support political parties.

These staff layoffs from state-owned companies stand in stark contrast to President Muizzu’s electoral promises. During his campaign, President Muizzu vowed not to dismiss employees based on their political affiliations or ideologies. Observers now question whether these actions violate that pledge, with merit seeming to have taken a backseat to political considerations.

While state-owned companies have begun laying off staff, the Finance Ministry’s proposed fiscal reforms remain pending cabinet approval, leaving uncertainty about their implementation.