The Finance Minister’s answer to the inquiry by Deputy Speaker and MP Eva Abdulla regarding usable reserve of the country was read out at Wednesday’s Parliament session which was criticized by Speaker Nasheed as severely lacking.
In his short and concise answer, the minister said the country’s foreign exchange reserves stood at US$ 317 million at the beginning of June. He said the central bank, the MMA, is legally responsible for managing the country’s foreign exchange reserves. The MMA is also responsible for preparing estimates of the government’s reserves. The MMA does not disclose the amount of usable reserves available to the government and the parliament should question MMA regarding the details, according to Finance Minister Ameer. However, the government is expected to have enough foreign currency to import basic goods for five months from the end of July this year, he added.
Minister Ameer’s reply was met with dissatisfaction from Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed said as per the powers vested in the President under Article 116 of the Constitution to establish ministries required within the government and determine their areas of jurisdiction, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih decided the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry and submitted the information to the Parliament on February 22, 2019. As per the submission, it cannot be stated that the Finance Minister cannot take responsibility for financial matters, and therefore the Finance Minister has to amend the letter and send it back to parliament.
Speaker Nasheed and MP Eva have both expressed concerns over the usable reserve of the country and has asked the government to slow down its projects due to the volatile nature of the world economy.