The managing director of the State Electricity Company has been appointed state minister of environment and energy and replaced by President’s Office Minister Ahmed Zuhoor.
The appointments were announced Sunday morning by the president’s office spokesman and the privatisation and corporatization board without disclosing reasons.
Zuhoor, who also chair of the cabinet’s economic and youth council, was appointed minister at the president’s office in August last year. He was first appointed Commissioner General of Customs after President Abdulla Yameen assumed office in November 2013 and went on to serve as minister of health, minister of youth and sports and minister of home affairs.
“The appointment of Ahmed Zuhoor as STELCO MD came at the same level as cabinet ministers,” Ibrahim Muaz Ali, the president’s spokesman, tweeted.
He was unavailable for comment as of press time.
Muaz also confirmed the appointment of the former STELCO MD, Abdul Shukoor Abdulla, as state minister of environment and energy. He becomes the fourth state minister at the ministry.
Shukoor was reappointed to lead STELCO in June 2014. He was previously in charge of the state utility company for several years until his dismissal in late 2008 following the change of government.
Sunday’s changes follow a reshuffle of top posts in the government and state-owned companies last month.
Maumoon Abdul Samad, the managing director of the government health insurance company Aasandha, was dismissed and appointed deputy housing minister on May 25.
Mujthaba Jaleel, chief executive officer of the National Social Protection Agency, was dismissed on May 18 and appointed deputy minister at the ministry of economic development.
Both officials were senior members of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives and were active alongside First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim, who heads an office for the president’s re-election campaign.
The transfers came after the government reversed an abrupt policy change implemented without notice in early May to exclude private healthcare providers from the Aasandha health insurance scheme.
The Aasandha company had informed private hospitals and clinics of the decision in a late night circular while results from the May 6 local council elections were being announced.
Agreements made with private healthcare providers were also dissolved after the NSPA’s board instructed the Aasandha company to implement the policy change.
But a day later, the president’s office insisted that it did not advise or instruct NPSA to restrict the insurance scheme to public hospitals and assured that services under Aasandha will continue.
The decision to exclude the private sector from Aasandha coverage sparked outrage with many linking it to the government’s loss in local council elections.
The Aasandha universal health insurance scheme was introduced in January 2012 during the administration of former President Mohamed Nasheed. It was expanded to ‘Unlimited Aasandha’ by President Yameen in 2014.
The chairman and managing director of the state-owned Waste Management Corporation were also sacked on May 14. Unlike the other officials, Ali Khalid and Ibrahim Fuad were not reappointed to top government posts.
Khalid was also dismissed from his post as chief communication officer at the president’s office a day after the municipal elections.