Main opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)'s Vice President and Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam on Tuesday proposed an amendment to set the minimum wage at MVR 10,000.
The Minimum Wage Advisory Board, formed by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, suggested an overall minimum wage of MVR 6,400. Per a report released by the board, roughly 40 percent of the Maldivian workforce were found to earn less than MVR 6000 on a monthly basis.
Speaking at the parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs, MP Shiyam noted a need to eliminate sectoral differences by establishing a varied minimum wage across different sectors, while increasing the minimum wage from the now proposed MVR 6,400 to MVR 10,000.
Although Shiyam's proposal was supported by opposition-aligned People's National Congress (PNC)'s Vice President and Maavashu MP Mohamed Saeed, the Economic Affairs Committee, consisting mainly of ruling party lawmakers, did not accept Shiyam's recommendation.
During the committee meeting, Shiyam alleged that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration pledged to provide MVR 10,000 as minimum wage. However, Dhuvaafaru MP Ismail Ahmed denied any such guarantees.
The proposed figures were set following research into several factors including expected costs to employers and changes in outward remittances by expatriate workers.
Addressing public concern over the minimum wage being too low, Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail stated that forcing an unrealistic minimum wage may drive businesses to bankruptcy, leading to reductions in number of job positions.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) had advised Maldives to set a minimum wage between MVR 6,000 and MVR 6,500.
The parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs declared Monday that it would deliver a conclusive statement on the proposed minimum wage report before March 11.
The committee also announced that they will meet the advisory board soon.