The state budget for the next year has been drawn up and completed, announced the Maldives government on Monday.
An official of the finance ministry said, “A date for submitting the budget has not been finalised yet. The minister will take the budget on whichever day the parliament settles on.”
The ministry has not yet disclosed the total budget for next year.
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 to put forward another amendment that cuts state benefits to political parties whose members refuse to vote on the state budget.
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.