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Transition teams decry political influence in civil service

Transition committees have been assessing ministries and state-owned enterprises.



Outsize political influence within the civil service affected the efficiency of government ministries, according to the transition committees of president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

After assessing ministries and state-owned enterprises, the transition teams have been briefing the press before Solih takes the oath of office Saturday. 

Mohamed Aslam, who leads the team assessing the housing ministry, accused the outgoing administration of unfairly handing out social housing flats, an allegation denied by Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muizz.

“It is finalised by a decision making committee which is entirely made up of political individuals. The office or the civil servants are not aware how the decisions are made,” Aslam, a former housing and environment minister, told the press Wednesday morning.

The housing ministry became “a massive and unmanageable institution” after it took over responsibilities of local councils, he added. The lack of staff to supervise numerous projects led to extra work after completion, he noted.

In Solih’s cabinet, the housing and infrastructure ministry will be renamed ministry of housing and urban development with a new ministry to be formed for national planning and infrastructure.

The new administration plans to carry out an audit of ministries and companies during the first 100 days.

Ibrahim Ismail from the team assessing the education ministry said additional funds were needed to prepare for the 2019 academic year.

“We noticed a lack of funds to repair schools before the academic year begins,” he said, accusing political appointees of marginalising qualified civil servants within the ministry.

According to Ismail, “the ministry does not know what happened to the tablets” promised for all students across the country.

“The contract period has ended and the money is paid” for 71,000 tablets, but the ministry received only 21,000, he claimed.

Shidhatha Shareef, who assessed the gender ministry, also blamed political influence for alleged mismanagement.

“The entire civil service machinery is built in a way to execute orders from politicians,” she said, expressing concern over the recruitment of employees to children’s home.

“That person should be capable of protecting children and should have such a background,” she said.

Ilyas Labeeb from the finance team criticised lack of cooperation from several state-owned companies.

“We had no cooperation from [Housing Development Corporation] and [Maldives Ports Limited]. We faced some difficulties from [Maldives Transport and Contracting Company]. No cooperation from [Public Service Media corporation] and Aasandha [government health insurance company]. And absolutely no support from Kadhoo Airport Company and Fenaka,” the former lawmaker noted.

Only nine out of the 28 state companies generate a profit and pay dividends to the government. Nearly MVR2 billion is spent from the state budget to subsidise the companies. 

“The loss is because of mismanagement in operations, internal corruption and corruption in handing over projects,” he said.

The state-owned enterprises, which together employ 22,212 people, owes MVR3.9 million to various parties but were owed MVR4.4 billion, he revealed.