The Maldivian political economy has been fragile ever since the campaign for the Presidential race of 2023 started. In addition to the turmoil that the Presidential election brought, additional stress was added to the political economy of the Maldives following a no-confidence motion being filed against the Parliament Speaker of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed.
While this no-confidence motion went back and forth, on the day that the no-confidence motion was finally set to be carried out the vice-speaker of the Parliament Eva Naseem failed to show up to the Parliament due to being sick with dengue. With this, the no-confidence motion was pushed to the 30th of October 2023, however, the vice-speaker failed to show up yet again, and her medical leave was put into question by the members of the Parliament.
Following this, in a surprising turn of events, the deadline for submitting the budget for the next fiscal year has also come and gone without the budget making its way to Parliament. The President-elect's office announced that this delay is a result of ongoing internal arrangements in Parliament, sparking concerns about its potential impact on the nation.
Interim Spokesperson Mohammed Firzul addressed the issue during a press conference, shedding light on the gravity of the situation. The budget, which is set at MVR 49.5 billion for the upcoming year, was slated to be presented during the current session. However, Finance Minister Ibrahim Amir was conspicuously absent, as the Attorney General's advice had been sought, suggesting that the session could not proceed until a pending no-confidence motion was resolved.
Firzul expressed hope that the three branches of government would collaborate to resolve the budget impasse swiftly. He emphasised that the delay is not limited to the 2024 budget; it also affects the proposed supplementary budget for the remainder of 2023. As parliamentary issues continue to hang in the balance, there is growing anticipation for a resolution that will allow the budget to move forward.
Parliament had previously approved a budget of MVR 42.8 billion for the current year. However, the finance ministry has since proposed an additional allocation of MVR 6.5 billion, increasing the total budget for this year to MVR 49.3 billion.
As the political gridlock continues to delay the budget's submission, many are left to wonder about the potential consequences of this delay on the nation's financial stability and its ability to meet the needs of its citizens. The hope now lies in the swift resolution of parliamentary issues and the timely presentation of a budget that aligns with the nation's priorities. The coming days will be crucial in determining the fiscal direction of the country for the year ahead.