State-funded projects must be profitable to both the government and general public, says Meedhoo MP Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, the leader of Maldives Development Alliance (MDA).
He made the remark during the debate on the 2024 state budget at the Parliament on Sunday.
Siyam noted that the 2024 state budget is a deficit budget, with the projected expenditure greatly surpassing the projected income.
He questioned the spending by past administrations.
Siyam said that while past administrations had run mega projects, including land reclamation projects in islands, the lands are not properly utilized.
“It is the same if there’s gold or rock buried there. We are buried in the land we reclaimed. There is no benefit to be gained from it. There’s no benefit the people can gain from it,” he said.
Siyam said that it is important that the great public spending on such projects produce benefits to the people.
It is a great injustice otherwise, he said.
He said that the national debt will only grow bigger if the development projects don’t produce benefits, and the gap between expenditure and income will only grow wider.
“Therefore, we need to work to produce benefits from the projects we run. The State of Maldives is a business. The Maldivian state, the Maldivian government is the biggest company,” he said.
Siyam also expressed concern over the spending on Aasandha health insurance scheme – which is one of the biggest burdens on the state budget.
He said the scheme is heavily misused for personal gain.
“The administrations are aware of the theft from Aasandha. Its clear that money is stolen from it in broad daylight. But they don’t want to stop it. Why shouldn’t this be stopped?” he said.
Siyam appealed to the new administration to stop Aasandha and introduce a new scheme to create a system to offer eases in medical care.
This door to corruption will remain open, otherwise, he said.
Siyam said that it is important to ascertain that there’s a system that can generate public benefits through government spending.