Political Nepotism at the Ministry of Fisheries: A Burden on Public Funds

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Since assuming office, President Muizzu’s administration has made significant waves in the political landscape of the Maldives, particularly evident in the Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Resources. Recent disclosures under the Right to Information (RTI) law have revealed startling figures regarding political appointments and their associated costs, shedding light on a growing concern: political nepotism.

According to reports, a staggering 39 political staff have been appointed to various positions within the Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Resources since May 2, following President Muizzu’s inauguration last year. These appointments encompass a hierarchical structure ranging from ministerial roles to senior political directors, each accompanied by substantial remuneration packages.

  • One minister: MVR 58,500 monthly
  • Two state ministers: MVR 43,500 each monthly
  • Twelve deputy ministers: MVR 31,500 each monthly
  • Thirteen senior political directors: MVR 25,500 each monthly
  • Eleven political directors: MVR 20,500 each monthly

Monthly expenditure of MVR 1,080,500 solely on political salaries at the Ministry of Fisheries. Annually, this amounts to a significant MVR 12,966,000, funds that could have been directed towards bolstering essential public services or infrastructure development.

Critics argue that such lavish expenditures on political appointees starkly contrast with the average civil servant’s salary, which hovers around MVR 8,000 per month. Indeed, the monthly outlay on political staff at the Ministry of Fisheries could cover the salaries of approximately 135 civil servants, underscoring the disparity in resource allocation and raising questions about fiscal responsibility.

Moreover, President Muizzu’s government initially pledged to cap political appointments at 700 positions, yet estimates now suggest the actual figure may approach nearly 2,000 across various ministries. The lack of transparency and accountability in disclosing these numbers adds to public skepticism and reinforces concerns over governance practices.This opacity further clouds the true extent of political appointments and their cumulative financial impact on taxpayers.