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Land Act amendment bill returned to Parliament for reconsideration

President Dr Muizzu sent the Land Act amendment back to parliament for reconsideration which will be reviewed by the incoming 20th Parliament.

Ameera Osmanagic
17 May 2024, MVT 10:41
Land reclamation in Hulhumalé Phase 3 -- Photo: Mihaaru
Ameera Osmanagic
17 May 2024, MVT 10:41

President Dr Mohamed Muizzu has returned the ninth amendment bill of the Land Act (Act no. 1/2002) back to the parliament for reconsideration yesterday.

The bill, which was passed by parliament at the 22nd sitting of its first session this year on 29th April states that the government is required to handover lands to recipients within three months from the date of publishing the list of recipients on the Maldivian gazette. It also states that lands not handed over by the government til date shall also be given to the recipients within three months of the amendment coming into effect.

The bill was passed by the vote of former ruling party Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) which held majority of the 19th parliament at the time. However, the five year term of the 19th parliament concluded on 15th May with the final sitting held on 13th of the month.

With the president invoking Article 91 (a) of the Maldivian Constitution which allows the return of bills for reconsideration, it will now be reviewed by the incoming 20th Parliament which is scheduled to be sworn in on 28th May, 2024.

The bill was put forth to the Parliament by MP Mikail Naseem of south Galolhu constituency. He argued that lands were not handed over to the recipients of 'Binveriya' [land owner] scheme initiated by former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih despite the list of recipients being published in the Gazette for a long time, and submitted the bill to resolve the delay six months after the list was published.

The 'Binveriya' scheme's recipient list was published by the former administration on 13th August 2023.

Under the scheme, total of 9,000 plots were awarded from Hulhumalé Phase 2 as well as Hulhumalé Phase 3, Giraavaru and Gulhifalhu which are currently being reclaimed. A lot of the plots were handed over and registered to the recipients at the time.

According to the latest statistics from the Housing Ministry, 8,394 plots were given their land registration. At this time, there are 303 recipients yet to receive their registration documents, out of which 12 have been deceased since the list was published. Another 16 individuals have also requested to give up their plots as well, the ministry said.