The Minister of Economic Development, Fayyz Ismail has raised concerns over the delay of two bills related to workers’ rights in the parliament.
Fayyaz, who also serves as the chairperson of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), said that the industrial relations and occupational safety bills in safeguarding workers' rights were crucial for the economy.
The Minister emphasized that the bills should be given equal treatment as other motions submitted to the parliament. He highlighted the importance of including them on the agenda for discussion and approval.
Speaking about the bills, the Minister said that no progress had been made either at the committee level or during parliament sessions. He further said that more time is typically allocated for motions or resolutions compared to bills during sessions.
“The two bills are very important for us, and it covers two major areas of workers’ rights that we are attempting to safeguard. It will transform the country’s economy significantly and we have spent several hours drafting them, to ensure they were presented properly,” Fayyaz said.
The Minister said that the occupational safety bill is currently at the committee level, but its progress has been hindered due to recent changes in political parties. Similarly, the industrial relations bill had its first reading in the parliament but has also encountered subsequent delays.
"What we are seeing now is that the parliament's time is being occupied by resolutions submitted for political reasons. Resolutions are important too, and the opposition will continue to submit them, receiving allocations in the agenda. My concern is that bills, do not proceed to progress," the Minister said.
The work of parliament committees has been halted as discussions regarding the replacement of members in permanent committees are taking longer than expected. These committee changes became necessary following the recent exit of 13 members from MDP.
As some of the permanent committees included members who recently quit the ruling party, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed said that the composition of these committees must be changed based on the representation of these members and independent members in the committees.
The Speaker said that the reappointment of members to the permanent committees would be a matter for discussion among parliamentary group leaders. During this time, the work of all committees would remain on hold until the new committee members are announced.
Following the announcement made by Speaker Nasheed, all committee meetings that were scheduled for last Monday were canceled and have remained on hold ever since.