Friday, October 31, 2008

Some challenges for the new government

The honeymoon period of Mohamed Nasheed (Anni)'s new government is likely to be short. Expectations are high among supporters, while a bruised DRP is lying in ambush for its first opportunity to strike ahead of the Majlis elections in February. So the government will be hard pressed to show results, despite overwhelming challenges.

Budget crisis:

Finance Minister Jihad has said there will be a revenue shortfall of 2.4 billion within this year. While his claim that the government has not defaulted on salary payments is true, it is also equally true that many low level employees are suffering because of restrictions on overtime payments. Finance ministry sources say the revenue for 2009 is not expected to cross the 8 billon mark. This would leave very little for development projects. So the picture is not very rosy for fulfilling election promises, unless alternative sources of revenue are identified.

Independent institutions:

Independent institutions described in the new Constitution, such as Election Commission, Auditor General, Supreme Court, Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Civil Services Commission are in various stages of infancy. They must be made fully functional and truly independent, in order to ensure that democracy takes root in the Maldives.

Strengthening the legal framework:

The Majlis faces a Herculean task in passing crucial legislation in several key areas such as local governance, penal code, political parties, university, pensions, health services, prison and parole etc. The task is all the more difficult because the ruling coalition does not command a majority in the Majlis. So the government will need all the diplomatic skills it can muster to ensure the smooth passage of laws through the Majlis.


Anonymous said...

well said. i hope and wish the strength of the team behind ANNI can some how dampen these problems. There is a dream team behind him if he could choose wisely. but I am very sure the DRP will be playing dirty and so ANNI should in his first presidential speech convince people the status of our nation now. A 30 year old ruling with nepotism has inflicted a big blow to the whole nation. How about taking the properties of those people who enjoyed the freebees all this time and still owes in millions to government. Since we democracy is reborn onternational community will give their overwhelming support, but the current economic crisis may hinder financial aids. overall the country dont need opposition now, but needs everyone to standup together to rebuild. Im sure DRP has got a big blow and will continue to loose public trust and support as more is yet to come. As soon as more audit reports come DRP and its despotic rule will loose allthe trust people had in them. Additionally hte DRP nepotists will start leaving the country with their coffers increasing public anger. Hence DRP cannot become a strong opposition. Their current MPs will have a hard time to sustain their seats. Public has shown money cannot buy votes anymore.

Anonymous said...

In the article there is mention of a short fall in government revenue. This may be true. However, the payment of over-time for some employees may be due to employment act (2/2008) which came into force in eraly July this year. Previously overtime was paid for most of the staff at a maximum of 33% of the monthly salary. But now there is no ceiling for over-time and on working days over-time is paid at 1.25 and on holidays it is at 1.5. So no agency in the government has enough allocations for overtime this year. Therefore this point is to be noted while taliking of overtime.

Anonymous said...

Dear Waheed,
I know you do not encourage personal questions. But..Out of curiosity, what will be your role in the New Maldives?
[Editor: I was trying to create awareness to ensure that the freedoms we got in the aftermath of September 19-20, were sustained and not reversed as happened to freedom of expression in 1990 (Hukuru, Sangu). This role will come to an end once the independent institutions mentioned in the Constitution become well established and fully functional. Till such time I will continue to contribute whatever little bit I can. ]

Abdullah Waheed's Blog said...

To anonymous 1.43 am,
The purpose of mentioning the difficulty in paying overtime was to highlight the urgency of solving the issue, not to blame anyone. In fact, in addition to the explanation you gave, there are other reasons why there is a shortfall in money for salaries and allowances: Salary hike at the beginning of this year, and thousands of promotions during first half of this year, none of which were budgeted. But there is no point in digging up the past.

Farooq M. Hassan said...

There are other more hard and difficult challenges; such as the election promises made by the out-going DRP regime . As you may recall, just 4 days to the election, the Finance Ministry announced that they have taken a loan of 21.4 million Euros (~ MRf 380 million) at 10 percent interest from Ing Bank (Holland) to reclaim land and build harbours in B. Thulhaadhoo and K. Thulusdhoo. According to the Ministry of Atolls website, Eydhafushi has a land area of 22.20 hectares and a population of 2811. Thulusdhoo has a land area of 33.50 hectares and has a population of 872. When you think about it in the light of the Auditor General’s Report on the Finance Ministry, and the recent statements made by the Finance Minister, Mr. Jihad, regarding the 2.4 billion revenue shortfall envisaged for this year, I wonder how justified is this loan. And how many other similar loans have they taken? I hope the new Government will make amendments to the constitution, that loans exceeding a certain amount, should require the approval of the Majlis.

Anonymous said...

No difference.Campaigning on thaahir dhiriulhun, even the spokes person smell of Adhaalaths forbidden drink n Velezinee as media cordinator.My my no difference except changing the man.Is a church really in the making with that fili around.Now that knife attacks rnt on the streets whos been behind it?Tell me its Golhaabhoa.And I am sure a man who had been truthful to himself wudnt be in a hurry to move into Hilaaleege after all the promises to make theemuge a university.

Shakeit baby said...

Mark my word, this government is going to fall sooner than you've ever imagined. Quarrel among prominent figures already started and our country is gonna go to havoc! It'll be worse than before. Thats for sure.

Anonymous said...

Expect this coalition to last for 4 months; until parliametary elections. They will start disintegrate before parliamentary elections.

Anonymous said...

Just could not resist without writing this......

Its been less than a week since the new Govt is elected, we have already started seeign signs of abusing power and corruption.

a senior personel at MDP called an MD of a 100% Govt owned comany and asked to give a job to one of the MDP activists... saying "Anni said"

This is the same kind of abuse we saw in the last Govt. "Maumoon said" to do this and do that. How can that person call Anni and ask if thats true. We maldivians dont have those guts or courage.

Hope waheed will publish this. I had high hopes for this new regime, but it looks like gonna be the same or perhaps worse.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gayoom's party, DRP, is a cult built on Gayoom's 30 year dictatorial rule and his personality as the defender of Faith and Nation. I'm fearful that the peace we're seeing now will not last. We can glean this from Gayoom's editorial on Dheenuge Magu this Friday and his speech at the DRP pity meeting. We're half rid of Gayoom. We must complete the job and get his poison out of the country as early as we can before he can do further damage.

Mr. Nasheed must be careful in how he handles this vile snake.

Anonymous said...

Remember Anni will have 8 more members at the parliament till the Feb 09 elections, as the president appointies. What will this do to the balance?

Anonymous said...

so guys whats ur opinion on the how the cabinet portfolios would be distributed...whos are the top contenders for the jobs

ali said...

Dear Waheed,i have personel question. i am 23 years old maldivian, ryt now studyin abroad. i heard u r close frend anni (while anni write sangu), but now u r qasim's close frend and against that true? or wht s da reason?

Abdullah Waheed's Blog said...

To Ali,
What you wrote is "Simply not true." During Sangu days I was studying abroad and never met Anni or knew him those days. As for Gasim, I have never met him or talked to him till today except in an official government meeting with several other participants.
[And please, please avoid asking personal questions.]

Anonymous said...

At anonymous November 1, 2008 12:48 AM

Even during rebuilding of our great nation. We will still need a strong opposition force for the sake of checks and balances. If you scrutinize the background of some of the governing people in MDP you will know that a lot of them have very dodgy pasts and will turn on Anni the moment he refuses to give them what they want. Yes I am talking about Zaki, Gasim, Jabir, etc. etc. Dr Abdullah Waheed please keep up the good work you are doing a great service to our nation. Anni please help us rebuild our nation.

Hilath said...

Perhaps the reason why Anni wants to appoint his loyalists as the 8 Presidential members in the current Majlis (until the February elections) is because he wants to get a majority and quickly pass many laws and reforms in this short period if in case a DRP majority gets into Parliament in February.
DRP is waiting for that moment as Maumoon clearly stated that what the DRP now has to focus is on winning big in Parliament (after Maumoon lost the Presidential race and DRP became the opposition).
In America, the usual trend is if it's a Democrat President, voters give majority to Republicans in the House and Senate, and vice versa. Well, that is the trend in most years of American history.
So I am hoping that with Anni's own 8 MPs he can get something urgently done to promote his own reform program in case DRP wins a majority in Parliament in February.