The State Budget 2017 proposed by the Maldives government lacks sufficient finances for the protection of women and children’s rights, declared member of main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Addu Meedhoo MP Rozaina Adam on Monday.
Speaking during the parliamentary debate over the proposed state budget for next year, Rozaina stated that state funds allocated for the gender ministry’s family and children protection centres are only MVR 22.6 million.
“Yet the expense allocated for the president’s house amounts to MVR 25 million even,” she criticized.
The deputy leader of MDP’s parliamentary group stated that the allocations of MVR 18.6 million for orphanages and MVR 5.1 million for the Family Protection Authority are hardly sufficient.
“While the parliament has passed laws to prevent abuse of children and women, not a single year’s budget allocates enough funds to Family Protection Authority indicative of the government’s desires to implement these [laws],” said Rozaina.
Noting that only MVR 50,000 has been allocated as the capital expense for Family Protection Authority, Rozaina pointed out that the rest of its MVR 5.1 million budget are all operational costs.
“What we’re seeing is that the budget for the presidential palace is 5 – 6 times higher than the budgets for these places,” she said.
Rozaina urged top executives of the gender ministry, Family Protection Authority, and family and children centres to request higher budgets for their sectors from the parliament.
“I’m aware that the members of this parliament are not ones to transfer even half a Rufiyaa from one sector to another against the wishes of President [Yameen]. But it is the responsibility of individuals in positions of power to come here and expose these circumstances to the public.”
Rozaina also voiced concern over the lack of any budget for women’s committees. She further pointed out the lack of funds in the state budget for the development of safe houses mandated in the Domestic Violence Act.