Parliament of Maldives has commenced deliberations on the Amendment Bill to the Decentralisation Act submitted by the Government.
The bill was introduced to Parliament on behalf of the Government by Ali Niyaz, Member of Parliament for Hulhumalé. The First Reading of the bill was held at the 54th sitting of Parliament held today.
The amendments proposed by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration are mainly focused on realizing the hopes and dreams of a ‘Jazeera Raajje’ by granting better access to resources to ensure regional sustainable development and empowerment to local councils; it will be achieved through the devolution of powers reflecting on financial liberalization and assuring revenue mechanisms to warrant sustainable development and empowerment.
The administration, through its proposal, seeks the development of regional hubs, create more jobs and business opportunities, increase the productivity of the islands and rectify the pressing issue of overcrowding in the Greater Malé Region. It also seeks to earmark five percent of the annual budget to local councils, and accord powers to generate revenue using the resources available in its jurisdiction.
Other means proposed in the amendments to ensure the financial stability of the local councils also include allocating 40 percent of revenue from leasing land, islands and lagoons, and 100 percent of the revenue generated from land and other resources in the direct jurisdiction of the council. All Public Sector Investment Programmes (PSIP) under MVR5 million is also proposed to fall under local councils as sectoral grants.
The administration also proposed to amend the roles and regulations of local councils including fixing the term of local councils to five years, and ensuring that women fill 33.3 percent (or one-third) of all council seats. Mayors of city councils and Presidents and Vice Presidents of local councils are also proposed to be elected through a public vote.