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Can empower councils, WDCs if parliament support is received: President

Mariyath Mohamed
14 April 2024, MVT 21:13
President arrives in Faafu Feeali.-- Photo: President's Office
Mariyath Mohamed
14 April 2024, MVT 21:13

President Dr Mohamed Muizzu has stated today that he intends to amend the laws to allow councils to be granted a portion of tourism related tax revenues earned by the State.

Speaking in Faafu Atoll Feeali today, the President stated that during recent travels across the atolls, he has so far met with 168 councils and Women's Development Committees. He indicated that his takeaway from these meetings is that these institutions need to be further empowered.

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu

The President said that one crucial action that needs to be taken to ensure this is to increase the revenue generated by councils. The most important change that can be affected to do this is to amend laws in a manner that mandates councils are directly given a portion of tourism related tax revenues earned by the State.

"Then there is a lot these councils can do for the development of their islands. I want to arrange many things such as this in ways that will be convenient for the people," President Dr Muizzu said.

He further stated that a decision has been made to issue uninhabited islands for the use of councils in collaboration with small businesses based in the islands. However, he noted that these things can only be implemented if the government receives the required support to get them approved.

President Dr Muizzu is welcomed by the people of Feeali.-- Photo: President's Office

"I want to bring prosperity to the people. I can do that when these things are made possible," he said.

President Dr Muizzu went on to point out that despite Women's Development Committees being established, the Decentralized Act is not structured in a way that facilitates proper functioning of these committees.

He said that although the committee is formed under the law, they do not get many opportunities besides being provided a small stipend as allowance for committee membership.

"Everything needs to be done within the five percent given to them under the Council's budget. Even the allowance is issued from that," the President said.

President Dr Muizzu attends gathering with residents of Feeali.-- Photo: President's Office

Due to budget constraints caused by the smaller size of some islands, allowances cannot even be paid in full for the entire year, the President noted. He went on to say that these members are also deprived of any further benefits or special allowances.

"Even the Ramadan allowance. Maternity leave. Breaks that women especially must be granted, they are not even given that. They cannot take any loans through using the allowance that they do get. There are a lot of hardships like this," he explained.

The President said that if the cooperation of the parliament is received, he wishes to address all these issues and find viable solutions.