Malé, Maldives – Auditor General of Maldives Hussain Niyazy has demanded to reclaim over MVR 400,000 issues as income support allowance to ineligible individuals.
According to the audit report by Auditor General’s Office, to date, the total income support allowance issued adds up to MVR 158 million, including over MVR 400,000 issues to 217 ineligible candidates.
The audit report states that there is no system in place to verify that those who receive the MVR 5,000 income support allowance disbursed through National Social Protection Agency (NSPA) are in fact eligible, due to the lack of a framework between the Pension Office and Economic Ministry. However, the report notes that the Economic Ministry verified the legitimacy of candidates to a great extent and issued income support.
While 86 percent of eligible individuals received income support, there was a lack of improvement in their financial status, with 59 percent applying during the next phase. The Auditor General recommends providing training opportunities and reintroducing these individuals to the job market.
As per the income support allowance guidelines, the allowance is given to those whose jobs have been terminated or put on no-pay leave or lost their source of income are to receive the full MVR 5,000, while those who have been subjected to pay or income reductions, resulting in them earning lower than MVR 5,000 will receive the difference.
While only those whose income was affected from March onwards were initially eligible for the allowance, the criteria for eligibility for the allowance was later expanded to allow people whose income have been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic as far back as December 2019, instead of March 2020, to seek income support.