Parliament wraps up budget debate, schedules vote for Monday

Parliamentarians pictured during a parliamentary sitting. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

The Parliament on Wednesday concluded the debate on the MVR 42.8 billion proposed state budget for 2023, which includes an additional MVR 160 million added during the committee stage, and the MVR 5.8 billion supplementary budget proposed for this year.

42 MPs debated on the budget. Some, who had requested to join the debate, lost the opportunity because they were not present at the floor during debate time.

Adjourning the sitting, Vilufushi MP Hassan Afeef, who presided the afternoon session, said the vote would be taken on the 2023 budget and the 2022 supplementary budget on Monday.

The Parliament is set to go into recess after Monday’s sitting.

The Budget Committee has recommended that the government pay attention to securing MVR 161 million in grants, in recovering dues owed from taxpayers in default, and to submit a supplementary, if necessary, as soon as possible.

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer said the 2023 budget is designed to address issues in all sectors, and will be the first budget where the income covers the recurrent expenditure since the Covid-19 pandemic.

He described the 2023 budget as a reliable roadmap drawn based on the good experiences in the past.

This plan will ensure the government continues to support the people’s prosperity, social wellbeing, and safety without interruption, he said.

Ameer said the biggest focus of the budget is to fulfil President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s electoral pledges.

The Maldivian government expects the economy to rebound to pre-pandemic performance by the end of this year.