The President’s Spokesperson and Chief Communication’s Strategist Ibrahim Hood has this morning briefed the local press about the Administration’s ongoing work in several crucial areas. At the press briefing held at the President’s Office, the Spokesperson highlighted on the Administration’s achievements over the past year, stressing on the strides made under President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s pledge to create a positive and socially cohesive atmosphere and maintain peace and stability.
Touching on education sector developments, the Spokesperson highlighted that nearly 5000 students have enrolled in higher education programmes under the Administration’s free degree programme. At the same time, a large number of students are pursuing higher education abroad under the revised student loan scheme and scholarships. He further noted the success of the breakfast ‘Naasthaa’ programme for students, through which over 55,000 students from 112 schools across the country are benefitting.
Emphasising on other policies, the Spokesperson noted that many were reaping the benefits of the Administration’s strategy to extend maternity and paternity leave and lowered domestic airfares. He also lauded the Administration’s efforts at combatting crime, with its success in cutting down the crime rate significantly compared to the previous years.
Speaking about the healthcare sector, Hood highlighted the Administration’s work of developing five tertiary hospitals, which is bound to provide ease of access to healthcare across the country. He noted that travel expenses related to healthcare would be significantly reduced with the introduction of essential services including CT scans, Neonatal Intensive Care Units and improved laboratory and operation theatres.
Regarding infrastructural development, the Spokesperson stated that President Solih’s Administration had done exemplary work with a record statistic of the most number of infrastructure projects initiated in its first year in office. In this regard, Hood detailed that 118 different projects were currently progressing in some 91 islands across the country.
Accenting on President Solih’s vision of a ‘Jazeera Raajje,’ Hood expressed the recent amendment to the Decentralisation Act as a massive success for the Administration, which paves the way for fiscal and legal autonomy of local councils—the most significant stakeholder in national development. He further stressed that the budget for local councils had been exponentially increased with added duties and responsibilities for Councillors.
On the economic front, the Spokesperson highlighted on the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), where the establishment of the SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) paved the way to provide financial assistance to prospective business enterprises. Speaking about the State Budget for 2020, Hood stressed on the Administration’s plans for next year. To this end, Hood highlighted the Administration’s planned spending on education, healthcare and infrastructure projects next year. He further underscored the Administration’s achievements in ensuring political stability and the rule of law, judicial reform, eliminating corruption, accountability, foreign relations and providing the constitutional mandate of Parliament, the judiciary and independent institutions.
Taking questions from the media, Hood responded to several inquiries pertaining to the Presidential Commission on Enforced Deaths and Disappearances, judicial reform, housing, and terrorism and violent extremism.