President Solih, addressing to the People’s Majili delivered the Presidential Address for the year 2022 on Thursday. He covered a wide area of topics in his address and envisioned the accomplishment of his administration’s pledges by the end of the year. The President stated that the burden on Male’ city in housing is huge and highlighted that the work in housing solutions is underway. The President talked of revolutionary changes for the Maldives for the current year which included curbing of religious extremism, ensuring national primary healthcare, building of rehabilitation centers for victims of domestic abuse, increasing salaries for education sector employees and many more.
President Solih’s Aims for the year:
- Education sector salaries to increase by 56 percent from May
- 720 loan opportunities for higher education to be opened on Monday
- Disability benefits will increase this year
- 5,000 land plots to be leased to residents of Male’ city in June this year
- 2,000 land plots to be leased after Giraavaru lagoon reclaimed
- The price of fish purchased by MIFCO will increase from March onwards
- Soft loans worth MVR 59 million to be issued to fishermen
- Primary health care system set to resume
- National Moderation Campaign against Extremism to be conducted
- Modern mosques to be built across the country
- Cases of drug abuse to be eased this year
Salary for all the staff working in the education sector will be increased in May, this year. President Solih said that it was one of his pledge to grant good pay scale for the educators of the country that plays a vital role in building the nation.
“The decision would see a 56 per cent rise in the salaries of graduate-level secondary school teachers from MVR 12,628 to MVR 19,740, excluding overtime.” He noted that in the previous year, training and development opportunities were provided to 4,082 teachers, and overseas postgraduate programmes were secured for 20 principals.
Governments biggest project: Productive generation
Under this scheme, the president announced that 720 additional slots for students seeking higher studies from abroad will be opened in the coming week. The president revealed that more than 1,500 students that wished to attain higher education overseas received student loans during 2021. Also highlighted that students who were in need of financial aid, as well as those with special needs were the top priorities in the list.
Talking about the Government’s Free First Degree Programme, he acknowledged that it has been a success— more than 12,730 students have been given opportunities to enroll in undergraduate studies. 2127 students have already completed their degrees. By the end of 2023, more than 5,000 students are expected to complete their free degree and contribute to nation-building. And in the years that follow, at least 2,000 students will graduate and begin serving the nation
To formulate a national registry of persons with disabilities
In his annual address to Parliament, President Solih announced his decision to increase the disability allowance before the end of the year. He said that there is no national list of people with disabilities and that work is underway to formulate such a list.
“This will be the means to provide them with the necessary treatment, rehabilitation, therapy and other services.” said Pres Solih.
According to the law, MVR 2,000 is provided per month to people with special needs as an allowance. However, a petition submitted to the President, sought the allowance is not sufficient in terms of the price of Maldivian services and commodities.
Following the petition, some parents of children with disabilities and blind people visited the President’s Office and met with him. After hearing their complaints, the President said that he would work to find a solution to the issue.
Housing: Land satisfaction for male’ residents
The President also reiterated the lack of housing in the Maldives. Assured that the government has plans to lease 5,000 land plots to male’ residents. 1,000 land plots will be given to male’ residents from Hulhumale’ and at least 2,000 land plots from Gulhifalhu. The project will begin in June this year. The President also noted that at least 2,000 land plots will be given to male’ residents from the land reclaimed from giraavaru lagoon.
“I hope my presidential term will end after removing the most needy people from male’ and giving them the land letter,” said the President. Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has announced plans to lease 60 land plots from Hulhumale’ to Male’ city.
National Moderation Campaign
In an attempt to eradicate religious extremism in the country, the government will be launching ‘National Moderation Campaign’ with the support of religious scholars as announced by President Solih. Looking back at the terrorist attempt to assassinate Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed on 6th May 2021 has only shed light to how deeply rooted the problem of extremism is in the Maldivian society.
The President stated that the administration placed a high value on providing the public with accurate information about Islam, as well as fostering youth who adhere to Islamic principles and values. Also highlighted that activities to raise awareness on the true teachings of Islam were carried out across 180 islands during the past year.
Ensure National Primary Healthcare Infrastructure
President Solih stressed on the urgency of providing mental healthcare within atolls. Currently, CT, mobile ultrasound scan, and laboratory services are available in five tertiary hospitals being development across five areas of the Maldives.
“The next step is improving and strengthening these developments. Construction work of hospitals comprising 100 beds will begin in Kulhudhuffushi, Gan and Thinadhoo. In addition to this, construction of 7 50-bed Atoll Hospitals and hospitals comprising 30 beds in 12 other islands will begin this year,” he said.
President Solih also said that his government will provide fully operational ambulances to 96 islands which currently have inadequate ambulance services. He noted that 42 ambulances had already been sent – adding that the rest is planned to be provided before the end of March.
Rehabilitation centers for victims of domestic abuse
Three rehabilitation centers will be constructed for victims of domestic abuse in Hulhumalé, Ungoofaaru island of Raa atoll and Hithadhoo island of Seenu atoll. Noting that there is still so much work in the grounds of empowering women politically and economically stated that the government will pursue to advocate gender equality in the country.
The President’s positive changes and Vision for coming years
In this year’s presidential address, the first assurance given to the people was that he would not tolerate anything that would undermine the independence of the Maldives. The opposition has expanded an “India Out” campaign across the Maldives amid concerns that India’s influence over Maldivians has been undermined.
In an indirect response to the untrue allegations against the government during the campaign, the president said the government was wary of what nationality should remain.Maldivian economy has been hit hard by the covid-19 pandemic and the productivity decreased by 33 percent this year.
Noting that the situation would have worsened if swift action had not been taken, the President said that economic changes had begun to appear over the past year.
He noted that tourism has made much more progress than it is aimed at. “The gdp for 2021 is expected to be between 31.6 percent and 38.5 percent. This is a lot higher than international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF had expected for the Maldives,” said the President.
“The IMF expects the Maldives to be among the five economies in the world that are expected to grow at the fastest pace in 2022.”
The President said that the government’s estimate is to increase the productivity of the Maldives by 12 percent this year.
President Solih in conclusion to his annual address said that he has highlighted many things that has been done and needs to be done for the betterment of his people. He said he will continue to advocate good governance regardless of difference in ideologies and carry the responsibility that people have entrusted him with.