Budget tabled for tomorrow’s sitting; Nasheed’s no-confidence delayed to Wednesday

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed presides over a parliamentary sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

The matter of the supplementary budget for the remainder of this year and the state budget forecasted for next year has been tabled on the agenda for Tuesday’s parliamentary sitting while Speaker Mohamed Nasheed’s no-confidence motion has been delayed to Wednesday.

The agenda, tabling the budget for Tuesday’s sitting, has been publicized at a time ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has filed a Supreme Court case asking the court to establish that the Parliament cannot hold any other sittings until work on the no-confidence motion is complete.

Supreme Court accepted the case earlier today.

Nasheed’s no-confidence motion had been tabled on the agenda for the 15th sitting of the third session of the parliament, which had failed to pan out both today and yesterday, as a result of Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla, Nasheed’s cousin and fellow Democrats member, calling in sick.

Parliament’s Secretary General Fathimath Niusha decided the sitting could not be held without Eva there to chair it, on both days.

In a press conference on Sunday, Ahmed Abdulla Afeef, a member of MDP’s legal team, said the party found Niusha’s decision to be unconstitutional, and in violation of the Parliament’s Standing Orders.

 MDP had originally submitted no-confidence motions against both Nasheed and Eva earlier this year. The motion against Eva was submitted with the endorsement of 50 MPs in May, and the motion against Nasheed followed, with the endorsement of 54 MPs, in June.

But the MDP withdrew the motions in September, while the party was engaged in negotiations with the Democrats – the party to which both Nasheed and Eva belong – for the presidential runoff election.

Instead of the no-confidence motion, the matter of the supplementary budget and the state budget forecasted for next year has been tabled on the agenda for Tuesday’s sitting.

The supplementary budget submitted by the government has garnered criticism from opposition parties.

When submitted originally, it did not include all the details stipulated under the Finance Act, as a result of which, parliament, on two occasions, had to ask the Finance Ministry to resubmit with amendments.

The MVR 6.5 billion includes MVR 3.1 billion for recurrent expenditure and MVR 3.3 billion for capital expenditure.

The allotment for recurrent expenditure includes MVR 1.8 billion for subsidies, MVR 1.2 million for Aasandha – which will increase the budget allocated for Aasandha this year to MVR 2.3 million.

Meanwhile, the allotment for capital expenditure includes MVR 1.7 billion for PSIP projects.

With the MVR 6.5 billion supplementary budget, the state budget for 2023 will rise to MVR 49.3 billion.

Democrats members had stated they will not allow for the passage of the supplementary budget, accusing the current administration of trying to increase state debt before the incoming government takes office.