Transport Minister: workload heavy despite govt closure

Transport Minister Aishath Nahula has stated that despite the government being closed, most of her time at home was spent on office work over the past few weeks.

The capital Male' region was placed on lockdown on 15 April, following the detection of the first case of local transmission of COVID-19 in capital Male'. The government offices were also closed as a precautionary measure.

Minister Nahula attended the parliament Committee on National Development and Heritage on Wednesday night at a time when the Government Oversight Committee has expressed concerned on her failure to present herself to the committee despite multiple summons. The public has also heavily criticised the minister for travelling to her husband’s resort while the capital Male’ region was placed on lockdown. Minister Nahula is married to prominent businessman and MP, Qasim Ibrahim. Qasim is also the leader of the Jumhoory Party (JP).

Speaking at the virtual committee meeting, Minister Nahula said Transport Ministry has a broad mandate with a heavy workload. All political appointees at the ministry have assigned tasks and responsibilities, said the minister.

The Minister said although the government is closed due to the lockdown imposed on the Male’ region, an ample amount of work was done even while at home. In that respect, she noted the work of the Civil Aviation Authority. She said most of the daylight hours are spent on the other works of the office while she focuses on the work of the civil aviation area at night.

“Civil Aviation is a place that needs to work for 24 hours. Therefore, even if we do not attend the office and stay at home, we have been working for almost 24 hours. We continue to work until the early hours of the morning. We then have to restart the work again in the morning at 0700 hrs”, said Minister Nahula.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, committee members raised several questions toward Minister Nahula and expressed concern over the minister not meeting councils’ members. In response to that, the minister said she meets with councils’ members as much as time permits, and said she does not take photographs of each meeting and publicise it. While this could be the reason why the public is not aware of her activities, the minister said she would take photographs of such meeting and publicise it in the future.