The Parliament and the incoming administration under President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu have laid out the budgetary parameters for the upcoming year. Both parties have prioritised fiscal responsibility while attempting to meet the needs of their respective constituents.

Muizzu has made a decision to maintain the national budget for next year at a capped amount of MVR 49 billion. The announcement was made by Ghassan Maumoon, a member of the budget committee and one of the vice presidents of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), during an interview on ‘Sangu TV’. The Finance Ministry is currently in the process of preparing the budget, with the participation of the incoming administration.

The Muizzu administration has established specific objectives for the upcoming budget. Firstly, the budget aims to adhere to international standards and satisfy the criteria set by credit rating agencies. Secondly, there is a goal to reduce the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio, which is currently at a concerning level in double digits. Lastly, the administration intends to continue with infrastructure development and pursue other initiatives that will benefit the general populace.

Ghassan Maumoon said that work on these goals began from day one and that the budget would include projects promised during Muizzu’s campaign as well as those deemed essential for the first year of his presidency.

An additional MVR 200 million has been allocated in a supplementary budget to cover transitional expenses from November 17 to December 31, as confirmed by Ghassan.

In parallel, the Parliament’s General Purpose Committee has approved a budget of MVR 196.2 million for the parliamentary secretaries for 2024. The increment from last year’s budget, which stood at MVR 182 million, has been mainly attributed to the need for funding the salaries of additional members to be elected next year.

The committee had also approved an MVR 4.6 million increment for raising staff allowances, in lieu of salary increases. This move comes after a long 11-year period during which the parliamentary staff had not received any salary increments. 

The decision to focus on allowances rather than basic salaries was made to mitigate the impact on the national budget, as salary increases would necessitate larger pension and overtime pay, according to Majlis Secretary General Fathimath Niusha. Additionally, MVR 4.2 million has been allocated for new policy initiatives.