President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that local councils will no longer have to question the president over delays in development projects in their jurisdiction, but that the president will now be questioning councils instead.
Speaking at a ceremony held at Crossroads Maldives on Sunday to kick off a symposium organized to carry out discussions with local councils, President Solih said the amendments to the Decentralization Act which was ratified at the symposium, lay an important foundation in realising the hopes and dreams of an 'island-style' Maldives, and equal access to resources across the country. The amendments will entrust a large number of public funds to island councillors, and island councils will have a say in development projects carried out within their jurisdictions, said President Solih.
Henceforth, inquiries that were previously directed to the president by island councils will now be answerable by councillors, said the President. The President will follow up and question councillors on the progress of all projects at every meeting with the local councils, the President stressed.
"In the past, you all [councillors] questioned me every chance you had in meetings with me. You inquired and complained regarding lack of progress on the development projects of your islands. However, with the ratification of the new amendments, I will be the one questioning you- why there are delays in so and so projects. We are disbursing you the funds, and empowering you with authority. Therefore, every time I meet you all, I will question each one of you on any setbacks," said President Solih.
The President added that no citizen must be cast aside or discriminated in the implementation of the Decentralization Act and that the law must be implemented fairly and justly. He stressed the importance of utilizing funds wisely and urged to elect capable councillors who will abide by the Act in the upcoming local council elections.
In his remarks, President Solih assured that he will not rule with an iron fist, as it will be detrimental for the people's growth and benefit. The President is governing the country through giving authorities to cabinet ministers and working together with them, said President Solih.
"Today is a very happy day. Today, I am experiencing extraordinary feelings. Today, I feel very satisfied and at peace. My biggest pledge during the presidential campaign was to empower local councils and developing Maldives as an 'island-style' nation. The foundation has been laid today to realise the pledge," said President Solih.