Public Accounts Committee Meeting, Photo: Majlis

Parliament Refers Fiscal Responsibility and Public Debt Bills for Further Review

In a significant legislative move, the government has passed the Public Debt Bill and the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, both of which will now be referred to the Public Accounts Committee for further consideration.

The Fiscal Responsibility Bill, intended to replace the existing Public Expenditure Accountability Act, was introduced by Ibrahim Naseem, the representative for Thulusdhoo Constituency. Meanwhile, Funadhoo MP Mohammed Mamdooh presented the Public Debt Bill. Both bills received approval from 78 members of Parliament to be reviewed by the committee.

Additionally, the committee approved a resolution proposed by Baarah Constituency Member Ibrahim Shujau. The resolution seeks parliamentary input on the possibility of increasing the number of members of Parliament every five years. This resolution will be referred to the Committee on Independent Institutions. It was also passed with 78 votes in favor.

The Fiscal Responsibility Bill outlines provisions for increasing the amount of money that can be withdrawn or printed through the central bank, the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), to meet government expenditures. Key points include:

  • Repayment of the money within three months at market interest rates.
  • A limit ensuring the amount does not exceed 2.5% of the average annual revenue of the government for the past three years.

The Public Debt Bill aims to enhance the management and transparency of state borrowing. Its key objectives are to:

  • Ensure that state borrowing and debt management consider the long-term economic impact on the country and future generations.
  • Establish procedures for the collection, maintenance, and management of public debt.
  • Define the issuance of sovereign guarantees for debt borrowed by local authorities and state-owned enterprises.
  • Improve the disclosure, reporting, and monitoring of public debt information.