Finance ministry under fire for party funding delay

Finance ministry under fire for party funding delay
October 10 14:20 2017

The finance ministry has been criticised for the delay in issuing political party funds.

The Political Parties Act mandates the issue of state funds to parties with members over 10,000 within the first three months of the year.

This year approximately MVR27 million (US$1.75 million) of state funds – 0.1 – 0.2 percent of the MVR 27 billion state budget – is allocated to political parties.

According to local news site Mihaaru, the Elections Commission has determined the amount of funds to be issued, but are waiting on the finance ministry to release them.

When asked for comment, a ministry spokesman said he could not explain the delay and would have to ask the minister for a reason.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party has said they are unable to carry out their congress due to delay in state funding.

“We will be pursuing all measures to get the funding, so that we can carry out our plans for this year,” MDP chairman Hassan Latheef told media Tuesday.

“What they’re doing is completely against the law, they should provide the funding at the beginning of the year. And the other thing is, they fine our parties every other week so by the time they give us the money all our resources have been taken from us,” said Imthiyaz Fahmy, MDP parliament member and party spokesman.

The MDP was fined this year for an alleged call to gather outside police headquarters.

Imthiyaz also said the ruling party carried out activities with direct funding from the government.

“There is no audit done for the ruling party. They are able to hold events and open new campaign offices, and there is no audit done into how they do it. It’s pretty clear that they get funding from the government. It’s taxpayers money.”

Last year, the EC provided MVR 10 million to the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, MVR7 million to the MDP and smaller sums to the government-coalition Maldives Development Alliance and the opposition Jumhooree Party.

The funds were released at the end of the year after harsh criticisms from political parties.