President Mohamed Nasheed has called on members of the People’s Majlis to set aside their political differences while debating the Decentralisation Bill.

He made this statement in his weekly radio address to the nation which was broadcast on the Voice of Maldives at 7.15 this morning.

In his radio address, the President noted that some opposition members rejected the division of administrative areas into provinces. However, he said, he believed that atolls were much smaller units for a decentralised administration. Furthermore, he said, creating atolls as decentralised administrative units would not be economically viable.

Speaking in this regard, the President appealed to parliamentary group leader of DRP, Mr Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and parliamentary group leader of MDP, Mr Reeko Moosa Maniku to show bipartisanship and resort to deliberation to conclude the Bill.

In his radio address, the President also spoke on the government’s decision to reduce the salaries and allowances of political appointees and to discuss with the Civil Service Commission to reduce the salaries and allowances of civil service staffs.

Stressing the need to reduce the government’s wage bill, the President said that overseas donor organisations, especially the IMF, had recommended on bringing a significant reduction to the government’s wage bill.

“If we do not bring these changes now, international donor organisations will react negatively to our economic and fiscal situation. It would make it difficult for us to seek loans and other facilities from international financial institutions”, said the President.

President also said that the austerity measures that the government was taking to reduce costs would be successful only with the sincere cooperation of the people.

He said that it was necessary to reduce the salaries and allowances of members of the People’s Majlis and other institutions in the same proportion as that of the political appointees.
In his radio address, the President called on the people to take heed of the Ministry of Health’s advice as a Maldivian had been tested positive for swine flu. He also appealed all stakeholders to work together on swine flu.

The President also said that the government recognised the contributions of individuals for the development of the health sector. In this regard, he expressed appreciation to Ms Nadia Thaufeeq for her initiative in setting up a project to bring specialist doctors from Germany, to the Maldives for short periods.

He also highlighted the significance of the conference on “Maldives: Towards a Future without Drugs” which will begin on Saturday at Aarah.

In his address, the President stated that beginning from 1 September, government announcements would be published only in the government gazette and that President’s Office was conducting meetings with government offices to prepare for this change.

He also said that starting from 1 September Radio Atoll 96FM will give one hour free air-time for government announcements. The President thanked the radio station for taking this initiative.