The Edition


Gayoom urges govt to reconsider subsidy cut-down

Mohamed Visham
02 October 2016, MVT 14:48
Former president and PPM president Gayoom pictured speaking during a recent ceremony. MIHAARU PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN
Mohamed Visham
02 October 2016, MVT 14:48

Ruling party leader and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom Sunday called on the government to re-consider its decision to limit the staple food subsidy urging party lawmakers to find an alternative for the people.

The government, the day before, revised its current policy on staple food subsidy to limit it to just the needy.

According the revised policy the subsidy would now be made available to the needy through the national social protection agency with effect from October 1.

The change has lead to a significant hike in prices for rice, flour and sugar in the archipelago.

In a Viber message on the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) parliamentary group, Gayoom who is the half brother of incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom insisted that the decision would prove to be major burden on the people.

"It is not something a PPM government would do," Gayoom who ruled the country for 30 straight years till 2008 added.

The decision to cut off food subsidy comes in the wake of the public having been forced to pay more for electricity.

Maldives’ state electric company has announced a decision to charge four laari from each unit of electricity from this month resulting in the hike of electricity rates in the archipelago.

The fuel surcharge applicable from September 19 was prompted by the rising diesel prices, according to State Electric Company (STELCO).

Government defended the move to cut down on subsidies by insisting that the decision was prompted to secure foreign aid.

Such measure were vital for robust economic growth in a time when the Maldives was set to forgo foreign aid -- having advanced from its previous least developed country status, government had said.

The elder Gayoom's comments would further fuel the row with half brother.

The two brothers have been locked in an ugly power struggle for ruling party control which has split PPM in two.

Since then, Gayoom has been publicly critical of Yameen's recent policies and decisions.