Maldives Parliament on Thursday passed a set of recommendations to ease the financial burden on families and businesses due to the COVID-19 induced economic crisis.
The recommendations were part of a report commissioned by the Parliament and compiled by the parliamentary Committee on Social Affairs, declaring its stance on government’s COVID-19 response and relief measures.
The 7-point recommendation report was approved unanimously by the 66 members who participated in the vote. Total 72 members were in attendance.
The recommendations include an instruction to the government and local councils to implement measures to reduce rent and provide relief for tenants facing evictions.
Currently, over 400 individuals have applied for government housing assistance, while 80 individuals are under state care in temporary shelters.
Further, the parliamentary report advised the government to implement monitoring measures of individuals and businesses receiving assistance from the government’s COVID-19 relief programs and to phase out the disbursement of funds.
Additionally, the parliament recommended businesses enrolled for the relief package be penalised by withholding funds in instances of employment rights violations and mistreatment.
It also called upon the government to ensure continuity of education during the lockdown via ‘teleclasses’ and online programs, and to introduce student internet packages to guarantee that all students across the country have access to online education.
Mosques, parks and other public spaces are to remain closed until the Health Protection Agency (HPA) instructs otherwise.
Meanwhile, opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s vice president MP Ahmed Shiyam proposed two additional recommendations. He proposed the government introduce an allowance for tenants struggling with rent payments and to hand over the 7,000 flats in Hulhumale’ Hiyaa project - initiated by former President Abdulla Yameen.
However, the amendments failed to pass, with only 10 members voting in favor.
The report is the outcome of proceedings initiated by an emergency motion submitted by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s parliamentary group leader MP Ali Azim on April 1, 2020.