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Maldives to draw up 2017 state budget in two weeks

Fathmath Shaahunaz
03 October 2016, MVT 15:40
Finance minister Ahmed Munawar (L) speaks with Bank of Maldives Ltd (BML) CEO Andrew Healy. FILE PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
03 October 2016, MVT 15:40

The projected state budget for the following year will be completed within the next two weeks, announced the Maldives government on Monday.

Finance minister Ahmed Munawar told Mihaaru that the government is currently in the last stages of compiling the state budget for 2017, which is expected to be finished in a fortnight.

“Afterwards, we shall discuss the budget with the top authorities,” he said.

The minister added that the budget will be submitted to the parliament towards the end of this month.

The Public Finance Act dictates that the state budget must be submitted for parliamentary debate by the end of October every year. The rule was exempted with the parliament’s permission the previous year following the blast upon the presidential speedboat on September 28, which had delayed the state budget proceedings.

Two amendments were made to parliamentary regulations on the state budget last year. The first annulled the clause stating that the parliamentary debate must commence within seven days of submitting the state budget, revising the rule to commence the debate from the day of submission itself. The second amendment annulled the rule that further information regarding the budget can be requested from the finance minister only seven days after submission, instead allowing requests to be made as the parliamentary debate proceeds.

Moreover, the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) is preparing to put forward another amendment that cuts state benefits to political parties whose members refuse to vote on the state budget. A member of PPM said the amendment will be submitted when sessions of the parliament’s third term commence this Thursday.

The parliament had approved MVR 27.5 billion as the state budget for 2016 with an estimated revenue of MVR 22.8 billion.

The government had estimated the deficit for this year would be MVR 3.4 billion, which is 6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, the deficit is expected to surpass the projected amount as the state revenue by September end was only MVR 10 billion.

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