Parliament passes tax hike bill

The Parliament has passed the government-proposed bill to increase GST and TGST charged in the Maldives.

The GST increase bill was moved by Ihavandhoo MP Mohamed Shifau on behalf of the government. The government proposed to increase TGST from 12 percent to 16 percent and GST from six percent to eight percent.

The tax hike bill was passed in Parliament on Wednesday. 55 MPs voted in favor of the tax increase bill, while 26 members voted against the bill. Those that voted against the bill include 14 members of the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The bill was passed while MPs supporting President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had complained to the President earlier on Tuesday that the bill was not voted on during the past two Parliament sessions. At Monday's Parliament Sitting, MP Hussain Afeef, who was presiding as the Speaker for the day, said no amendments had been proposed to the report prepared by the Parliament's Committee of the Whole House on the tax hike bill. He then opened the floor for debate for one hour. However, no member requested to debate the report. Noting that no member requested to debate the bill, Hassan Afeef said the quorum required to vote on the bill was not present, and concluded the session.

Speaker Mohamed Nasheed presided over Tuesday's session. He adjourned the session without voting on the bill and did not even mention the bill during the course of the session. The only matter Nasheed asked to vote on was a resolution moved by Dhangethi MP and MNP President Mohamed Nazim on the Chagos issue. Pro-government MPs protested against President Nasheed's decision to vote on another issue without giving priority to the tax increase bill, and the session concluded while MPs were raising their voices on the matter.