Aasandha, a government-run social protection program, has utilized 60% of its budget allocation in the first quarter of this year, with MVR 600 million spent out of the MVR 1 billion allocated for 2023, according to the Finance Ministry. This figure represents a significant increase compared to the same period in the previous year, which saw MVR 345 million spent. However, the total expenditure for Aasandha last year was MVR 730 million, surpassing the budget allocation of MVR 1.6 billion.
The World Bank has recommended that the government reduce spending on Aasandha and other subsidies to enhance its management and ease the burden on the national budget. Despite the government proposing measures to reduce spending on Aasandha and subsidies, no such actions have been implemented thus far. Foreign financial institutions have also urged the government to decrease subsidies for the past ten years, with effective action only taken in 2017. Although measures were taken that year to reduce subsidies and other government expenditures, no budgetary measures were adopted in previous years, leading to a consistent increase in government spending over the past four years.
As of now, the state budget has spent MVR 11 billion this year, which is MVR 1.2 billion more than the same period last year.