'Establishment of minimum wage will affect country's economy'

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ibrahim has stated that the establishment of a minimum wage in the Maldives could affect the country's economy.

The minister made the remarks at the ceremony held Tuesday to mark the 100th Anniversary of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Minister Fayyaz said it is likely that the economy of the country is going to be affected with the introduction of a minimum wage. However, the citizens of the country wish for a minimum wage to be established, therefore, the work will be expedited.

Fayyaz said it is impossible to establish the minimum wage in such a way that it is agreeable to all parties, however, the government is working to establish a minimum wage that both employers and employees will be happy with.

"Undoubtedly, the establishment of a minimum wage will affect the country's economy somewhat. There is no doubt about it. However, as this work has never been done in the past, we have to take a short cut. The citizens of the country want this. The future of the country must be based on the practices followed by the rest of the world. What we are doing is trying to establish a minimum wage agreeable to both employers and employees with the help of ILO and the Salaries and Wages Advisory Board. We cannot reach a decision that will be pleasing to everyone," said Minister Fayyaz.

The Economic Minister assured that the Salaries and Wages Advisory Board was not be influenced or pressured in any way, and that the government merely acted as a mean in carrying out the necessary research.

Noting that a large percentage of the parliament is made up of members representing main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Fayyaz said MDP wishes to establish a minimum wage. Although a minimum wage can be immediately decided by the government, the government wishes to seek the counsel of the parliament before reaching a decision, said the minister.

"Our hope is that the parliament reaches a decision on the matter during the first parliament term of 2020," he added.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih established a minimum wage advisory board earlier this year under efforts to establish a minimum wage in the Maldives. The board has conducted a broad enterprise survey to collect data and has obtained all relevant data from relevant government entities.

It is a key pledge of President Solih to establish a minimum wage in the Maldives. Main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) proposed the minimum wage requirements in their Agenda 19 manifesto to fulfill the pledge.