Parliament rejects bills proposed by opposition MPs

Parliament rejects bills proposed by opposition MPs
August 04 14:31 2015

The parliament has rejected two pieces of legislation submitted by main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs on imposing price controls for staple foodstuffs and dissolving inactive companies.

MP Ahmed ‘ADK’ Nashid’s bill on authorising the government to impose price controls for 12 types of foodstuff was rejected 40-24 at yesterday’s sitting of parliament, whilst amendments submitted to the Company’s Act by MP Fayyaz Ismail was rejected 35-23 at today’s sitting.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives-Maldives Development Alliance (PPM-MDA) coalition controls a comfortable majority of 48 seats in the 85-member house.

MP Fayyaz had proposed authorising the registrar of companies to dissolve businesses that have not paid annual fees for two consecutive years after writing off outstanding fines.

Presenting the bill to the People’s Majlis today, Fayyaz said some 4,500 inactive companies formed after the law was passed in 1996 remain undissolved due to unpaid fees and fines imposed under new tax laws.

If the amendments were passed, Fayyaz said about 10,000 shareholders would be “saved from administrative debt” and be able to pursue new commercial ventures.

Fayyaz stressed that he was not proposing writing off fines incurred for non-payment of taxes, but accumulated administrative fines imposed for failure to pay annual fees or submit audit reports.

The current law states that the registrar can dissolve a company if it either “fails to commence business within a year of its incorporation, or fails to carry out the business objectives of the company for a period of two years.”

In the ensuing debate, pro-government MPs also spoke in favour of the proposed changes.

However, MP Ahmed Nihan, parliamentary group leader of the PPM, said after the vote that Fayyaz’s bill was rejected because the government has drafted “a brand new Company’s Act” to replace the 1996 law.

The Maldives is placed 116th in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of doing business’ ranking with a score of 50 for starting a business.

The process of registering a company and applying for a tax identification number currently takes five days.