President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Sunday, asserted that bringing national development, stability and peace through decentralization is the administration's most significant pledge.
He made the statement during the opening ceremony for a conference held at Crossroads Maldives, gathering both atoll and island councillors.
During his address President Solih emphasised that effective decentralization was initiated with the ratification of the eighth amendment to the Decentralization Act, which took place as part of the event.
He stated that the financial empowerment of councils was a key change brought to the Act, detailing that a separate percentage of the state budget and income generated by the island, atoll and city councils are now allocated for their own use.
President Solih further noted that in order to ensure meaningful representation of women in the decision-making process, a third of each council will comprise of female representatives. He also highlighted provisions which call for the election of a five-member Women's Development Committee from each island.
Furthermore, the president urged councillors to fulfill their duties fairly in accordance to the Decentralization Act, without discrimination towards any individuals. President Solih advised councillors to utilise their new financial autonomy to bring further benefits to their constituents.
President Solih also added that it was not his nature to gather state powers in order to bring more prestige to his position.
Vice President Faisal Naseem, Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed, government officials and council members were also in attendance.