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Parliament reject bill to increase Senior Citizens Allowance

Shahudha Mohamed
22 July 2019, MVT 20:31
A senior citizen speaking on the phone inside a local market stall. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
22 July 2019, MVT 20:31

The Parliament, on Monday, rejected the amendment proposed to the Pension Act by Kaashidhoo MP Abdulla Jabir calling to increase Senior Citizens Allowance to MVR 10,000.

The bill was rejected with the majority vote of 58 members present in the session.

Jabir's amendment stated that senior citizens will not receive a pension if the pension amount decided by the Maldives Retirement Pension Scheme is more than twice the amount of their Basic Pension.

However, as per the amendment, if the amount generated by other pensions are less than MVR 10,000, the total including the State Pension and Basic Pension should add up to MVR 10,000.

According to the current laws, the state pays MVR 5,000 to every senior citizen registered for the allowance.

Jabir stated that he submitted the amendment to increase the allowance to aid in building a favourable environment for senior citizens in society, so they could lead a dignified and respectable life.

During the debate about the bill, members of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) claimed that Jabir had proposed a bill that could only be put forward by the state. They also claimed that such an amendment cannot be submitted mid-year after the state budget had already been passed.

They further insisted that regulations must be amended in such a way that MPs were not allowed to propose bills that burden state finances.

Most members of MDP believe that Jabir submitted the bill for political reasons without holding discussions with the party or the government.

Members expressed that no complaints were formerly lodged regarding the Senior Citizens Allowance, adding that the best thing to do for senior citizens is to provide them with adequate services and increase the level of care they receive.

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