Housing ministry takes over more of city council’s office space

Housing ministry takes over more of city council’s office space
August 19 18:34 2015

The ministry of housing has taken over half of the office space allocated to the Malé City Council on the ground floor of the Huravee building.

The opposition-dominated city council moved its main office to the Huravee building after its eviction from the city hall in April.

The housing ministry has now ordered the council to remove its furniture, filing cabinets, and documents from half of the ground floor office space.

The move follows President Abdulla Yameen limiting the council’s responsibilities to administrative functions, such as registration services and issuance of birth and death certificates.

Municipal services previously provided by the council have been transferred to the housing ministry following ratification of amendments to the decentralisation law that authorised the president to determine the council’s powers and responsibilities.

Councillor Mohamed Rasheed told Maldives Independent today that the space allocated for the council is too small.

“They have refused to allow the council to store its documents and files related to vital services, and other belongings moved from [the city hall]. We have no space to keep them,” he said.

With the council’s shrinking office space, Rasheed noted that councillors are only left with the Maafanu ward office, where the council’s finance, human resource, and procurement sections are located.

The ward office does not have tables and chairs or proper workspaces for the councillors, he said.

“The government has evicted us from the Machchangoalhi ward office space also. When we are forced to house everything in this office space in Maafannu, there is not even space for a needle tip on the floor,” Rasheed said.

Nine of the 11 councillors from the capital belong to the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Since President Yameen assumed power in November 2013, the government has gradually stripped the council of its powers and resources. Earlier this year, a third of the council’s employees were transferred to the housing ministry, which also took over management of Malé City’s public spaces, parks, harbours, cemeteries, and roads.