President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Tuesday, ratified the first amendment to the Public Health Protection Act (Law no.: 7/2012). The amendment establishes improved protocols to govern the State of Public Health Emergency declared in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and future such crises.
The amendment strengthens public finance expenditure protocols during such events. Requirements mandate the Minister of Finance to report to Parliament if expenditure would exceed funds previously earmarked for health emergencies. Parliament would specify and approve any supplemental spending. The amendment further requires the Minister of Finance to submit to Parliament monthly financial reports in addition to bi-monthly spending forecasts.
It requires the Auditor-General to provide a comprehensive spending audit to the President and Parliament before the 60th day after the end of a State of Public Health Emergency. All reports submitted to Parliament would be published in the Government Gazette and made available to the public.
Parliament passed the amendment bill on April 29, 2021, at the 37th sitting of the first session of the Parliament this year. Upon ratification, the amendment has now published in the Government Gazette.