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Maldives govt faces intense public, political ire over subsidy cut

Mohamed Visham
03 October 2016, MVT 16:03
People holding placards during a protest on Sunday calling on the government to reverse its decision to limit the staple food subsidy.
Mohamed Visham
03 October 2016, MVT 16:03

Government is facing intense public criticism and pressure from political rivals over the recent decision to limit its subsidy on staple food from October 1.

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

The move had sparked protests in the capital Male and the southernmost Atoll, Addu as hundreds took to the streets on Sunday demanding the government to change the decision.

Understandably, opposition parties were quick to condemn the move accusing the government of completely ignoring the plight of the Maldivian people.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has also been forced to fend off criticism from within his own party, with several lawmakers, speaking out against the decision.

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

According to the government, international financial institutions have long pressed the government to cut off subsidies.

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).

 

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