The government has included MVR 500 million in the supplementary budget for higher education student loans. This is due to an increased number of students qualifying for higher education under the loan scheme.
The Higher Education Ministry initiated the student loan application process on February 15 this year, with 1,507 students applying for the available 720 loan opportunities. The government has chosen to extend loans to all eligible students, encompassing 1,275 students.
The government presented a supplementary budget to the parliament, seeking approval for an additional MVR 6.5 billion to cover approved budgetary expenditures for the current fiscal year. As a result, the initial budget of MVR 42.8 billion for this year has been increased to MVR 49.3 billion.
The Finance Ministry has allocated the supplementary budget for specific purposes, including the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP), Aasandha, subsidies, and capital contributions to state-owned companies. Out of the total supplementary budget of MVR 6.5 billion, MVR 1.8 billion is designated for subsidies, MVR 1.2 billion for Aasandha, and MVR 1.7 billion for PSIP projects.
The proposed supplementary budget of MVR 6.5 billion requires MVR 6.1 billion for financing. Originally, MVR 1.1 billion was earmarked for funding the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP). There is also a proposal to secure an additional USD 200 million in budgetary support from foreign sources and plans to raise an extra MVR 1.9 billion from domestic channels.
The Finance Ministry clarified that the supplementary budget was presented in parliament due to the expectation of higher spending in the current financial year than initially approved.
In the current fiscal year, the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) has seen accelerated expenses, exceeding the initial budget. Additionally, several cost-saving measures outlined during the budgeting process needed to be executed as intended, resulting in diminished anticipated revenue from these initiatives.