Government submits bills on Maldivian citizenship, marine transport and GST

Government submits bills on Maldivian citizenship, marine transport and GST
October 06 14:39 2015

The government has submitted four bills to the parliament this week, proposing changes to laws governing Maldivian citizenship, marine transport, taxes, and the national drug control council.

According to the president’s office, the government has submitted amendments to the 1969 Maldivian Citizenship Act to specify procedures for giving up citizenship.

The president’s office noted that article 9(c) of the constitution states that any person who wishes to relinquish Maldivian citizenship may do so in accordance with law, but such legislation has not been passed to date.

The bills have not been made public yet.

The government also proposed amendments to the 1978 law on sea travel to include new procedures for registering and collecting fees from marine vessels and to authorise the relevant ministry to formulate regulations for implementing the Maldives’ obligations under international treaties and maritime agreements.

Following a spate of accidents at sea in recent weeks, the transport authority on Sunday announced plans to introduce mandatory insurance and seaworthiness testing for vessels.

Economic Development Minister Mohamed Saeed told the press that the issuance of seaworthiness licences will be privatised under new regulations to be enforced soon.

Captains and crew, including existing licence holders, will have to undergo a new training programme and pass an exam to obtain licenses, Saeed said, whilst marine vessels will be required to carry additional safety equipment.

Coinciding with a bout of bad weather last month, a ferry sank with 81 people onboard, a speedboat caught on fire, several vessels collided at sea, and many boats ran aground on reefs.

The other bills submitted by the government meanwhile include an amendment to the 2011 Drug Act to allow state ministers, deputy ministers, and officials of similar rank to be appointed to the national drug control council in place of cabinet ministers.

The government also proposed amending the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act to exempt daycare centres and nursing homes for the elderly and persons with special needs from charging the six percent tax for services.

The amendments to the sea transport law was introduced at today’s sitting of parliament. A preliminary debate on the legislation will take place at a later date.