President ratifies amendment to grant all SDF powers to Finance Minister

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratifies the seventh amendment bill to the Public Finance Act on March 15, 2023. (Photo/President's Office)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Wednesday, ratified the seventh amendment to the Public Finance Act to handover all the power related to the Sovereign Development Fund (SDF) to the finance minister.

The Parliament passed the bill at its 10th sitting of the first session held on February 27th.

The seventh amendment to the Public Finance Act seeks to enhance procedures for acquiring loans, issuing guarantees, disbursing special assistance from public funds, tracking public finances, and drawing up the state budget. To achieve this, it outlines guidelines on the management of the Sovereign Development Fund and public procurement mechanisms, resolves challenges to their implementation, revises the penalties for violating the law, and addresses challenges to the enforcement of the law.

The amendment adds a separate chapter to the Act on sovereign guarantees and outlines provisions to waive or permit leniency on payments owed to local councils. 

It further includes the Authority (MMA) as a Sovereign Development Fund (SDF) to ensure the long-term investment of state finances, debt repayment, and increase state revenue.  It also necessitates the formation of a position titled Accountant General, tasked with managing public funds, and specifies the competencies and responsibilities of the job.

Moreover, it also mandates the establishment of an Internal Audit System for the state, outlines the responsibilities of the Chief Internal Auditor and the formation of a seven-member Internal Audit Committee. 

The amendment also adds another separate chapter with respect to the procurement system and outlines the process of penalizing those who violate the law.

Subsequent to its ratification, the amendment has been published in the government gazette and is now in effect.