Some lawmakers claimed in Wednesday’s Parliament sitting that the government has taken a loan of MVR 800 million from the Bank of Maldives Ltd (BML).
Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s lawmaker of Kulhudhufushi North constituency, Abdul Ghafoor Moosa, stated that the financial committee on Tuesday discussed the loan the government took from BML to pay the salaries of civil servants last month .
However, ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s lawmaker of Feydhoo constituency Ibrahim Didi denied that the government took such a loan.
While sharing the related documents at the sitting, MP Abdul Ghafoor claimed that the government is selling a sovereign guarantee to secure USD 200 million from overseas in order to repay BML’s loan. He added that the interest amounts to 14 percent and demanded to know who would pay back the money.
Refuting the claims, lawmaker Ibrahim Didi elaborated that the parliamentary financial committee did not discuss any loans taken to pay civil servants’ salaries, but the committee did discuss a loan to pay the debts of the government to several companies.
Didi pointed out that every government bears some debts, highlighting that former administrations had also amassed huge amounts of debts.
The government was authorised to take loans only with the consent of Parliament during former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration. However, incumbent President Abdulla Yameen’s government has removed that section from the Public Finance Act, authorising the state to take loans without discussing with Parliament. Currently, the law mandates the administration to only forward information of the transaction to Parliament.
Criticising the need for a loan, MP Abdul Ghafoor questioned where the MVR 27 billion allocated in this year’s State Budget went and noted that a loan of MVR 800 million was never mentioned in the budget.