Solih: New gov spending additional MVR 300m on pay, depleting budget

Former Maldivian president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. (Photo/MDP)

Former Maldivian leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, says the new administration is spending an excess of hundreds of millions of Rufiyaa on political appointees, which he said has exhausted the state budget.

Solih, the advisor to main opposition MDP, made the remarks during a campaign rally held in Sh. Milandhoo on Saturday.

Solih, who lost the 2023 elections to President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, said his administration spent total MVR 1.9 billion on salaries during the first two months of last year.

But he claimed the new administration spent MVR 2.1 billion on salaries during the same period this year - an excess of around MVR 300 million.

“The numbers show it spent an excess of MVR 270 million to MVR 300 million on salaries the last two months, compared to 2023,” he said.

“This is the reason why there’s no money in the budget.”

Former Maldivian president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. (Photo/MDP)

 Solih said the incumbent administration has hired close to 1,500 political appointees.

He called on the government to reduce wasteful spending, and fund projects such as the Milandhoo airport project, instead.

“Why don’t they take the MVR 300 million and come build an airport here? The project can be initiated. Land can be reclaimed. But they have no intention of doing so. Nothing but empty promises,” he said, adding that the MDP would support the development of an airport in Milandhoo.

“We need there to be MDP lawmakers to set all this on the right course.”

The incumbent administration had said it would cap political appointments at 700. However, it has hired over 300 political appointees – many of them to high-paying jobs.

President Muizzu has 22 government ministers in his cabinet – making it the biggest cabinet in Maldives’ history.

The administration also has an additional 20 officials appointed at the ministerial-level, and over 90 state ministers, and over 160 deputy ministers.