In his weekly radio address on Friday, President Mohamed Nasheed spoke on the decentralization bill, the health sector and the new academic year.
President stressed a main reason for establishing provinces was to have economies of scale, saying that an atoll is too small a unit for sustainable development.
By grouping atolls into seven provinces, the government's goal, he said, was to develop them like the capital Malé.
He acknowledged that some people disagreed about making provinces, adding that the government still did not know the exact reason why they disagreed.
The President urged for serious consideration on the issue, and said “[we should] do certain things for the whole country, for the national interest and prosperity.”
“I know even MDP may have to compromise some of its policies. I hope even DRP will compromise on some matters to come to an agreement that both sides can accept... so that the decentralization bill can be resubmitted to the Majlis and speedily passed...,” President Nasheed.
The President said real democracy is when there is opportunity for individuals to make decisions that concerns them.
He said, “I want to talk to all parties on [the decentralization bill]. I would like to point out that the government is ready to talk to all sides to find a reasonable solution.”
The government withdrew decentralization bill on 30 December in order to resolve the deadlock at the People's Majlis over the bill.
The People's Majlis had to cancel four consecutive sittings after disagreements among its members.
The government will send an amended bill for the next session of the Majlis.
Health sector achievements
In his weekly address, the President highlighted some of the achievements at the health area during the last year.
- Government spent Rf 310 million as old-age pension, received by over 13,000 people on average a month
- It spent about Rf 8 million for about 687 needy people
- 23,000 were covered under Madhana health insurance scheme, in addition to the usual welfare benefits
He said government hoped to extend Madhana coverage to more people.
As schools reopen on Sunday after annual holidays, President also used his weekly radio address to speak on progress made in the education sector.
As the new academic year begins, government has changed 101 schools as single-session schools, including three in Malé.
The government believes changing schools to single-session institution was important for holistic education.
On the benefits of single session schools, the President said, “After their morning session, students will get opportunity to participate in various different activities until 3 [in the afternoon].”
He said for well-rounded education it was important students have time for various other activities.
171 rooms have been added to change the 101 schools as single-session schools.