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News in brief: committee approves taxation commissioner

US$1.5 million spent on free education scheme.



Fathuhullah recommended as new taxation commissioner

Parliament’s economic affairs committee on Thursday decided to recommend the appointment of Fathuhulla Jameel as the new commissioner general of taxation.

Jameel, a former director at the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority, was nominated by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih along with assistant commissioner of customs Ibrahim Nashid. The president also forwarded eight names to be considered for the deputy commissioner general of taxation.

After vetting and interviewing both nominees, the oversight committee recommended parliament approve Fathuhula to the vacant post. The nominee is expected to be put to a vote at the parliament floor next week.

141 people remain in temporary shelter after Malé warehouse fire

Some 141 people from 24 families displaced by the September 20 warehouse fire in the capital remain in temporary shelter, the National Disaster Management Authority said on Thursday.

The NDMA arranged accommodation in guesthouses and 14 apartments at the Gaakoshi housing complex. All of the displaced families are in need of permanent shelter as their homes were completely destroyed, the NDMA noted.

The government has yet to decide on compensation for homeowners but three months worth of rent has been deposited to displaced families who had been living for rent in apartments destroyed by the fire. The NDMA has also offered to provide food and accommodation until October 31 as the families find new homes and return to normalcy.

President visits Japanese disaster prevention centre

In his ongoing official visit to Japan, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Thursday morning toured the Maritime Disaster Prevention Centre in Yokosuka City.

During the visit, the president met with five soldiers from  the Maldives National Defence Force who are training at the facility, the president’s office noted.

“The management and representatives from MDPC also briefed President Solih on emergency management, response mechanisms and training for disaster preparedness exercised in Japan,” it added. “President Solih also toured the Oil Spill Control Training Station and Coast Cleaning Training site. MDPC has a state-of-the-art training department targeting oil spill control, firefighting, chemical and Hazardous Noxious Substance (NHS) control, and includes the Daini-Kaihou—a hazardous material response and firefighting training facility.”

Ex-MP Ali Arif appointed Jumhooree Party secretary-general

Former MP Ali Arif was appointed as the new secretary general of the Jumhooree Party on Wednesday night.

Arif was among several former ruling party lawmakers who joined the JP in August after failing to win re-election.

US$1.5 million spent on free education scheme


The government has spent MVR24 million (US$1.5 million) so far this year on the free education scheme for students pursuing first degrees in the Maldives, officials from the higher education ministry told parliament’s national development committee on Wednesday.

Some 5,679 students are presently studying tuition-free, Deputy Minister Aishath Shafeena told lawmakers. But the ministry has so far processed forms and paid fees for about 60 percent of them, she added. In addition to 1,691 forms seeking refunds, public universities and private colleges have submitted 3,089 invoices.

Policy changes will be made to address delays in paying course fees as invoices were being submitted late, said Higher Education Minister Dr Ibrahim Hassan. The government is considering releasing funds directly to the student, he said.

Maldives retain title for Indian Ocean Best Spa Destination

The Maldives retained the title of Indian Ocean Best Spa Destination at the fifth annual World Spa Awards in Dubai last Monday.

Dr Hussain Niyaz, Maldives ambassador to the UAE, collected the award on behalf of the country during a gala ceremony at the Armani Hotel Dubai at the Burj Kahlifa. The Maldives has won best spa destination consecutively since 2015.

Japan funds minibus for children’s shelter

The Japanese government has pledged a grant of US$48,500 to provide a minibus for the children’s shelter Fiyavathi in the capital’s suburb Hulhumalé.

“The project aims to address the absence of vehicle for Fiyavathi to transfer the children to a school and medical facilities. The project is foreseen to be completed within a year and, after completion, Fiyavathi would ensure the access to quality education and medical treatment for the children,” the Japanese embassy said in a press release.

The grant was committed under Japan’s Grass-Roots Human Security Projects scheme. “The GGP in Maldives has been widely implemented in areas such as education, environment, health, transportation and energy since 1996. To date, 15 projects have been implemented under this scheme, which exceeds USD 1.5 million in total value,” the embassy noted.

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