MP Waheed criticizes the 2021 budget

Mohamed Waheed
The MP of Ungoofaaru, Mohamed Waheed. | Photo: Majilis.

Male’, Maldives – Parliament Member of the incumbent party, Maldives Democratic Party (MDP), Mohamed Waheed criticizes the budget proposed by the Finance Ministry for the year 2021.

During today’s parliamentary session, the MP of Ungoofaaru, Waheed has widely criticized the budget that has been set for the year 2021. While the Finance Ministry announced that the 2021 budget will be MVR 34.7 billion, several MDP members have backed the government referring that the low budget is due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

However, while referring to the praises the 2021 budget has been receiving, Waheed said that the budget proposed to the parliament is not worth of being praised. He said that it is the duty of the authorities to clearly inform the citizens of how the actual situation is in Maldives.

Waheed further noted that the state budget proposed by the Finance Ministry does not adhere to the promises President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih made during his presidential campaign and the parliament campaign. He also said that the state budget is not for campaigning but for the citizens of Maldives and that the amount should be settled after considering the situation the country is facing.

While the ministry proposed MVR 34.7 Billion as the state budget for the upcoming year, the country expects to receive additional MVR 17.8 Billion as profit and aid from foreign countries.

Out of the MVR 34.7 Billion, MVR 33.3 Billion is predicted to be the expenses for the upcoming year and MVR 15.5 Billion of the proposed state budge is considered as deficit budget for the year 2021.

Waheed also commented on the deficit budget that has been proposed. He said that at a point where the economy of the country is facing an unpredictable amount of loss due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is not acceptable for the ministry to propose a budget that can further increase the budget the state has.

The Finance Minister of Maldives, Ibrahim Ameer informed during a Parliament meeting that the Maldivian debt is estimated to be MVR 82.8 billion at the end 2021. He said that although the government is doing everything they can to speed up the recovery of Maldives’ economy, a side effect of the current attempts at economic management is an increase in debt.

“By the end of 2021, Maldivian debt is expected to be at MVR 82.8 billion. This is 124.8% of GDP” Minister Ameer said.

Waheed further highlighted that the citizens are currently facing very difficult times and that it is not appropriate to take more loans and continue with the development projects, when the government should actually be working on overcoming the problems the citizens are facing.

He also said that the state budget must be used for the benefits of the citizens and that the citizens are voting the party in hopes of having an improvement in their lives. MP Waheed also said that while the citizens are facing a difficult time, he does not support the governments plan to add more taxes and fees from the citizens while they have no further plans to provide money to these citizens.

According to the government the proposed MVR 34.8 Billion budget for 2021 is planned and set to be in accordance with the implementation of the “National Resilience and Recover 2020-2022” plan which was made to boost the economy from the fateful consequences of Covid-19. 

It is estimated that the government would receive MVR 17.8 billion as revenue and grants in 2021, of which tax revenue constitutes the major item while the estimated budget balance for 2021 is a deficit of MVR 15.5 billion. According to the government the primary balance for this period is a deficit of MVR 12.9 billion and this deficit would be financed through various financial instruments such as bonds, sukuk and treasury bills and by borrowing.