The State has responded to the allegations made by the Deputy Leader of Jumhoory Party (JP) and Kaashidhoo constituency MP Abdulla Jabir that President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik spending on campaigning while the government faces budgetary constraints.
In reply to a question asked by Haveeru, government spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said today that the President has not conducted any campaign so far and that he had spent the past seven months in a very hectic state trying to restore peace to the nation at a level never seen before in the history of the nation.
“We are now seeing members of the pro-government coalition complaining because certain matters are not progressing the way they want it to. It can be determined from this, that the government will not violate the constitution or the law. That the government will always follow the rules and regulations set for matters. I am saying this because Jabir has been pressing about losing West Park. But the government will do nothing about it outside of valid jurisdiction and regulations. They talk in that manner because the government opts for the utmost transparency in everything it does,” Abbas, who is also a member of JP’s council, said.
Male City Council has decided to lease West Park currently owned by Jabir, to Amir Mansoor to develop and run for 10 years. The restaurant lease signed by the State with Jabir’s company Yacht Tours to run West Park will expire by the end of September, and Jabir has now filed a case at the Civil Court following the council’s decision to lease the property to another developer without his knowledge.
Abbas said that the government has never signed a direct agreement with Jabir himself.
“It would have been easier for us to look into the matter if Jabir was talking about an agreement made between the government and JP. Jabir is saying that the government is violating agreements. This government has not made any direct agreements with Jabir. But on the other hand if an agreement made between a party and the government was an issue then the government will consider the matter. It has to be noted that Jabir joined JP which is in favor of this government after remaining in the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) for a long time,” Abbas said.
He also detailed that during the government of former President Mohamed Nasheed, the budget set for expenses was insufficient in terms of income earned by the country and that it was followed through with “much difficulty” and that while the government can borrow up to USD60 million in loans to sustain the budget, the current government has not borrowed to even an amount close to what is stated in the constitution.
“The Finance Ministry is working to reduce state expenses by 15 percent. Around three billion in debt by the former government has been paid by this government. This government had to pay the bills, several bills that were left unpaid by the former government. But the President did not want the people to feel the brunt of the issue,” Abbas explained.