بسـم اللَّه الرّحـمٰـن الـرّحيـم
اَلحَمْـدُ لِلّـهِ رَبّ العَـالَمِـين، وَالصّـلاة وَالسّلام علـى سيدنا محـمَّدٍ، خاتم الأنبياء والمرسلين، وَعلـى آلـه وَصَحْبِـهِ أجمـعـين.
Honourable Speaker of the Peoples Majlis,
الســّلام عليــكم ورحـمــة اللّـه وبـركاتـه،
I would like to reassure the esteemed members of the People’s Majlis that I will make certain the constitution and the rule of law is upheld within the execution of my duties as President of the Maldives. I reiterate my commitment to work as such in the future
Last year marked a colourful celebration of the Maldives’ Golden Jubilee of Independence.
One of the main priorities of this Administration is to ensure justice and equality before the law for all in the Maldives.
Last year we were able to achieve several milestones laid out in the Attorney General’s 5-year strategic plan to strengthen the criminal and civil justice systems of the Maldives.
This Administration is working tirelessly to speed up all that is necessary to maintain the people’s trust and respect in the country’s judiciary. Justice can only be ensured when everyone is treated equally and in the same manner.
Some parties have been raising objections to the fact that certain individuals are being prosecuted, through the criminal justice process, for making an arrest outside the law and in contradiction with orders of the court. Such objections weaken the constitution and undermine our institutions shatter all social boundaries. Such actions are not acceptable.
This Administration gives high priority to increasing economic self-sufficiency and to maintaining peace in the society. Hence, last year this Administration undertook several developmental projects all over the country. Our citizens were provided with numerous welfare programmes during the past year. Several solid steps were taken towards economic consolidation. With the will of Allah Almighty, the year 2016 will see even more rewarding projects implemented throughout Maldives.
The flats built in the ‘Gaakoshi’ area and the former ‘Arabiyya School’ plot will be completed this year, and handed over to their occupants.
The 704 housing units being built in Hulhumalé under this Administration’s housing scheme will hopefully be completed this year and handed over to the beneficiaries. Similarly, construction of 1,200 housing units, targeted for the middle-income and high-income brackets, has been initiated by private companies.
By the grace of God, we will be able to commence work on 10,120 housing units in Hulhumalé Youth City this year.
Apart from this, the construction of 1,500 housing units, with loan assistance from the Axim bank of China, will hopefully be completed next year.
It is my hope that this total of 13,524 flats will be completed within the next two years.
Several programs were conducted last year in order to promote Maldivian fisheries products in newer markets, and to maintain the M.S.C certificate awarded to pole and line fishing of skip jack tuna in Maldives. This opened up Maldives to 14 new markets for fish export, and increased market penetration to Europe and America.
An insurance scheme for farmers has been introduced in collaboration with Allied Insurance Company, to provide continuous financial assistance as compensation of any losses caused due to natural disasters and other crises.
Focusing on the education and training required for a civilised society, the most important work done in 2015 was including pre-school education in the official education system, and commencing pre-school education in Government schools. Along with this we have begun work to provide free education for all Maldivian students until the age of 18, or for two additional years following the completion of the 10th grade. With this change Maldives will become the first country in this region to provide 14 years of free education.
Forty-eight schools in the Maldives are currently teaching the Arabic language in order to broaden understanding of Arabic and Islamic studies. Under the new teacher’s framework, teachers’ salaries have been revised last year, and all teachers have been trained to at least diploma level. A 10-year project, to begin this year, will ensure teachers will then have a degree level qualification.
The most important goal of the education sector is to ensure that no child under the age of 18 is excluded from the school system, and to maintain the child at some stage of schooling, until the child is eligible for employment.
The World Health Organisation’s certification last year, of Maldives being malaria-free, is a milestone achievement for the Maldivian health sector. Also during last year, specialists and super-specialist services have been introduced in all the atolls via NSPA and Aasandha; and more than 6,000 patients treated. STO pharmacies have been opened in all inhabited islands in the Maldives, where medicine is issued free of charge under the Aasandha scheme, which is another great achievement for the health sector.
Permanent health care has been arranged under a social health insurance scheme to cancer patients, and those with chronic kidney or heart diseases. So far, 23 patients have had kidney transplants, and 5 have had liver transplants. Unlimited Aasandha services are provided at 31 overseas hospitals for those healthcare services not available in the Maldives.
God willing, a top-of-the-line Cath Lab will be established in IGMH this year. A super specialist kidney centre will also be established this year, to cater to patients with urinary and kidney issues. God willing; kidney transplant services will be available at this centre.
A “Council for Economic Empowerment of Women” has been established comprising of experts from various fields, to identify the opportunities and the challenges faced in empowering women economically. The council has commenced its work.
Research is being done, and data being collected, to determine the scope of domestic violence in the Maldives, and their types. Necessary steps are being taken by this Administration in order to curb these problems.
As the youth are the driving force behind the productivity of Maldives, a lot of work is being done to empower them. In this regard during the past year, various training programmes were held to provide employment opportunities to Maldivian youth, and for youth who are seeking employment. Employment opportunities and information are being provided to the youth, with the aid of a job registry database.
Loans totalling 7.7 million rufiyaa have been disbursed to 13 individuals last year, under the loan scheme to encourage youth fishermen and boat owners, and to provide financial assistance for boat building, and to acquire engines and other modern technology for the boats.
To encourage more youth participation in the agriculture sector, a loan programme being conducted in two phases, has provided a total of 5.7 million Rufiyaa to 84 individuals.
The “GETSET” programme has been introduced for young entrepreneurs, under which 25.5 million Rufiyaa has been allocated to 34 enterprises as loans. The administrative work required to disburse the loans are currently being carried out. God willing, these loans will be disbursed this year. Further, with the assistance from IDB the “Faseyha Madhadhu” scheme worth 30 million Rufiyaa has been announced. Proposals are currently being evaluated. The second round of the GETSET programme has been announced this year. God willingly, a scheme worth 40 million Rufiyaa will be introduced this year for young entrepreneurs and those interested in entrepreneurship.
The other main aim of this Administration is to ensure peace and harmony in the Maldives; and to provide a safe environment for the people of Maldives. In this regard, a number of milestones were reached last year in controlling criminal activity. The number of cases filed in 2015 was comparatively less than that of 2014. As a result of the work done by the police with the cooperation of the people:
- reported cases of theft went down by around 22%,
- reported cases of robbery went down by 12%,
- reported cases of violence went down by around 12%,
- reported cases of repeat offenders went down by 21%,
- reported cases of juvenile offenders went down by 8%.
To ensure continued easy access to clean drinking water in Malé, the construction of two new water plants at two different locations in Malé will commence this year. As part of the work being done by this Administration as per its pledge “Clean Drinking Water for All”, the construction of water supply systems in 10 islands were completed in 2015, and services initiated. Establishment of water supply systems in 37 islands will be carried out at different stages this year.
As part of the Government’s plans to establish good sewerage systems in the islands, 10 islands had sewerage systems completed last year. In 2015, sewerage system projects had commenced in 22 islands, and work will continue in 42 islands at different stages during the course of this year.
Beach protection projects are being carried out in 13 islands to overcome the problem of erosion. This year, God willing, beach protection projects will begin in an additional 12 islands.
In 2015, harbour construction was completed in 9 islands. And harbour maintenance dredging and renovation were carried out in 9 islands. Fifty-one agreements for harbour development in different parts of the country were signed, and work is underway at different stages.
To increase the land area, land reclamation was carried out in 7 islands, and protection of the reclaimed areas is underway. Agreements have been signed for land reclamation projects for an additional 3 islands.
Agreements for road construction have been signed in 20 islands, while work has begun in 8 islands. This Administration will provide more resources to Maldives Road Development Corporation this March.
The work of Haddhummathee Bodu Magu in Laamu Atoll, linking four islands, will be completed this year, God willing, and open to the public.
To establish a good transportation mechanism in all parts of the Maldives, the country has been categorised into 7 regions, and God willing by mid-2016, continuous services will begin.
The estimated economic growth of Maldives in 2015 was 4.8%. In 2016 it is estimated that the economic growth will increase to 6.4%. The inflation rate from 2014 till the end of November 2015 was at 1.54%.
By November 2015, the official reserve of Maldives was 567 million dollars. And by the end of 2016 it is estimated that the official reserve will be 644 million dollars.
To maintain stability in the Maldives’ financial system and to protect the rights of depositors, especially that of small depositors, a deposit insurance scheme has been established.
During the last year, the minimum reserve requirement was decreased from 20% to 10% to increase the number of loans being sanctioned by the banks to private parties.
During the last year, notable milestones have been achieved in the tourism sector. Last year, 1.23 million tourists arrived in the Maldives. Last year there was an increase of 1,000 beds. Payments have been made for the purchase of hopper dredgers required for the construction of resort islands on large reefs and to speed up land reclamation projects. We expectantly await the dredger’s arrival in Malé by the end of this year.
Despite this Administration’s continuous efforts for tourism development, it is undeniable that the tourism sector faces the negative impacts of some Maldivians trying to damage and disrupt the development of the tourism sector. Last year a bill was passed by this esteemed Majlis to prevent such actions. However, the Attorney General noted certain legal issues needed to be resolved, and hence the bill was returned to the people’s Majlis for reconsideration.
As some individuals attempt to tarnish the good name of Maldives and hinder the country’s development, this Administration has had to invest money and time to clear the image of Maldives in the eyes of the international community.
Last year special loan schemes were introduced targeted at small and medium enterprises. Hence, with the contribution of ADB, a soft loan scheme of 23 million Rufiyaa was introduced, under which loans were granted to 96 enterprises. Out of these, 40% of the loans were sanctioned exclusively for women and youth.
Actions need to be taken to recover the losses to the State due to negligence in the use of the Administration finances and property, and cases of corruption that have been taking place in the recent years, according to the reports issued by the Anti-Corruption Commission and Auditor General’s Office. Thus, the Attorney General’s Office will begin legal proceedings this year regarding such cases.
The most important objective of the Maldives’ Foreign Policy is to safeguard the country’s independence and sovereignty, maintain regional security, and to protect and promote national integrity. It also encompasses strengthening bilateral relations with friendly countries, and ensuring the continued respect from other countries towards the Maldives. It includes working together with other countries in solving issues, without allowing foreign parties to interfere with our domestic affairs. Furthermore, the foreign policy highlights the promotion of global human rights and ensuring that the Maldives respects these human rights at all times; and the fulfilment of the Maldives’ duties as a member of the international human rights conventions.
With the grace of the Almighty, 2015 was a year in which Maldives received prestigious achievements in the foreign sector, having maintained good standing with the international community and by reinforcing the pride and honour of the nation.
Last year was a year in which contracts for many lucrative projects were signed. In this regard, contracts were signed with India, China, Japan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Palestine and work has commenced. Additionally, a contract has been signed with the UN to seek help for different developmental projects for the next 5 years.
The most important goal of this Administration is to ensure that Maldivians are a people who respect and abide by the laws established under our constitution. And also to minimise crime, and be protected from the drug epidemic. And to maintain respect from other countries, and maintain our uniqueness. This Administration is doing everything to achieve this. I would like to express my confidence of the continuous cooperation and contribution of the esteemed members of this Majlis, to this Administration in carrying out its endeavours.
May the Almighty grant us the wisdom to remain steadfast in our Faith! May Allah bless the work being done towards national development! May Allah safeguard the peacefulness of this nation! Ameen.
والســّلام عليــكم ورحـمــة اللّـه وبـركاتـه.