بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم
السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُه
My sentiments towards this esteemed Parliament and this chamber run deep. The safety and blessings bestowed upon our State by Almighty Allah are great.
Today, I am reminded of May 6, 2021. The terrorist attempt to assassinate you, Honourable Speaker. Your service to the Maldivian people is exemplary. Your survival, through the divine grace of Allah Almighty, has strengthened our resolve to defend the Maldives' democracy and bolstered our efforts to promote and protect human rights in the Maldives.
The heinous crime exposed something far more dangerous. The extent of extremism which delves deep into our society. Atrocious and violent acts committed in the name of religion. It laid bare the magnitude and complexity of the work required to combat violent extremism.
The passing of the late Honourable Hussain Waheed, Member of Parliament for Komandoo Constituency, has left a deep sense of loss and sorrow on this Parliament. I mourn his death. And I pray for eternal salvation for his soul in paradise.
The Administration is forever vigilant about the principles that serve as the foundation of our nation and sovereignty. The Administration will stop any attempt to undermine the foundations of our religion, independence and sovereignty. Neither strife, enmity, nor hostilities will be allowed to encroach on our peaceful lives.
The strong foundations of our Islamic faith and heritage are the grounds on which fine generations of Maldivians have been built. One of this Administration’s core policies over the past year focused on instilling in our hearts rightful Islamic knowledge and instilling in our young people the virtues and manners of Islam. As such, activities were carried out in 180 islands last year to raise awareness on the true teachings of Islam.
With the support of religious scholars, we will carry out this year a "National Moderation Campaign" to educate those who harbour and spread extremist ideologies and commit heinous crimes against people and property, in the name of religion or against it. 290 individuals are currently enrolled in degree programmes for imams and muezzins. 1,599 individuals completed Quran teacher training programmes last year.
This year, legislation governing Hajj and Umrah, Waqf, and Zakat will be drafted and sent to Parliament for consideration. The work to build modern mosques in all parts of the country will continue unabated.
The coronavirus pandemic, which overtook the globe in 2020, cast a shadow across the Maldives. Vaccines brought a ray of hope. We have administered vaccines to all, with no discrimination between locals and foreigners. Our inoculation campaign has made great strides by global standards. We have since opened the administration of booster doses to all.
This is the result of the hard work and achievements of many. Volunteers, government agencies and companies. Of the civil service, armed forces, police and other uniformed bodies. The sacrifice of all healthcare professionals, from the attendant at a small healthcare centre to the specialist doctor at a large hospital and everyone in between. Our international partners, global organisations and neighbouring countries also played a significant role. I express my endless gratitude to them. That Maldivians put forward the good of the nation above everything else is the reason behind our accomplishments.
The economic and social customs followed in the Maldives in the past differ from what we practice today. We pledged to pioneer revolutionary changes to them. It started with our decentralisation policy. We have explored untapped development opportunities and paved the way to distribute their benefits across the country. By decentralising services and employment opportunities, migrating to a more environmentally friendly “Jazeera” Maldives. Ensuring care and social protection that form the backdrop of dignified families. Eliminating discrimination, and ensuring accessibility to essential services closer to home. Remodelling the State to ensure good governance.
The Government’s biggest project is to build an innovative new generation. To provide adequate educational opportunities. There is no bigger benefit for the country than to enrich and develop our human resources.
There once was a generation of Maldivians with constant worry on their minds and pleas on their tongues, living and building their lives working at sea and in the forest.
Each and every one of them – every mother and father - with the same dream. They made hefty sacrifices to provide a decent education for their children. This is now a thing of the past.
The Government’s Free First Degree Programme has been a success. More than 12,730 students have been given opportunities to enrol in undergraduate studies. 2,127 students have already completed their degrees. By the end of 2023, more than 5,000 students are expected to complete their free degree and contribute to nation-building. And in the years that follow, at least 2,000 students will graduate and begin serving the nation
We are working on putting an end to the practice of education being treated as a commodity that is exclusively available to the wealthy. All prospective students now have the opportunity to attain a degree with government funding. We have successfully facilitated that.
The steps of higher education are infinite. In 2021, more than 1,500 students that wished to attain higher education overseas received student loans. Those that did not have the financial means, and people with special needs were prioritized by the Government. This Monday, 720 more opportunities will be opened under this scheme. Efforts are underway to train Maldivian professionals in various needs-based fields. In this regard, loans have been granted for 124 students to increase the number of Maldivian doctors. This month, we will begin the process of training 1,150 ICT and accounting professionals under the program.
Efforts are currently underway to establish TVET centres, junior colleges and polytechnic institutes across different regions of the Maldives. This year, work will begin to establish a junior college in H.A. Dhidhdhoo and a TVET centre in R. Alifushi. The construction work for both the junior college in Kendhikulhudhoo and polytechnic building in Thulusdhoo have now been announced. The greatest assets of any nation are its trained professionals.
Being a student from a small island is no reason to be excluded from receiving equal opportunities. This year, satellite school services have begun for students in B. Fehendhoo and V. Thinadhoo. This has ended the challenging journey that B. Fehendhoo’s resident Aminath Asifa endured for the past 12 years – her children having to travel in a small boat to attend school in the neighbouring island of B. Goidhoo.
Last year, we provided opportunities for skills development and training needed for 4,082 teachers, and Masters-level training for 20 principals overseas. We will continue with these programs.
The Government is building the infrastructure needed to switch to single sessions in schools. During this term, 23 schools have now switched to a single session for the first time. Last year, in 22 schools, 117 classrooms and 6 multipurpose halls were established. Additionally, work is underway to establish 473 classrooms and 27 multipurpose halls in 55 schools. A total of MVR 941 million will be spent on this project.
Teachers hold the biggest responsibility in building a nation. The Government is committed to ensuring they receive a commensurate wage. Starting from the month of May this year, I have made the decision to increase the salaries of all employees in the education sector. With this change, secondary teachers at a graduate level will have an increase in salary from 12,628 to 19,740 excluding overtime allowance. This is a 56 percent increase.
To the question and uncertainties that surround low wages, the Government has found an unequivocal response - the determination of a minimum wage. This has ensured that employees across all industries have significantly improved take-home pay.
This especially impacts over 13,000 Maldivian employees in the tourism industry. It has also benefited 15,400 employed in the government sector and 5,100 employees in State-owned companies.
It is now mandatory to collect a 10 percent service charge in the tourism industry. And since last January, it is now legally mandatory to equally distribute 99 percent of the service charge to employees.
Good changes come with pure intentions. Ahmed Rasheed works in a resort miles apart from his family in central Maldives. For the past 16 years he received MVR 5,600 as a monthly salary. However, with the minimum wage coming into force, he now receives MVR 8,000 as his basic salary. Including service charge, he received a total of MVR 55,000 in the month of January. These benefits go beyond what we pledged. Every good thing that happens to a citizen is an advancement for the country.
It is pointless to accord blame for the arduous and heartbreaking practice of residents from the outer atolls being forced to travel to the capital Malé for basic health needs. Begging the wealthy to have your prescription filled has become a thing of the past because timely decisions were taken to address it.
CT, mobile ultrasound scan, and laboratory services are available in 5 tertiary hospitals being developed in 5 areas of the Maldives. MRI service and cardiac services have been established in the North and South. Dental services are fully operational in 4 of the hospitals and Dr. Abdul Samad Memorial Hospital will commence dental services in this quarter. Various specialist services are available in each of these 5 hospitals.
The next step is improving and strengthening these developments. Construction work of hospitals comprising 100 beds will begin in Kulhudhuffushi, L. Gan and G.Dh. Thinadhoo. In addition to this, construction of 7 50-bed Atoll Hospitals and hospitals comprising 30 beds in 12 other islands will begin this year.
This Administration is working on revitalizing the primary healthcare system in this country through a decentralised system.
A public healthcare portal has been introduced in 58 inhabited islands. The legal structure to ensure a national primary healthcare infrastructure will be submitted to this esteemed Parliament this year.
It is crucial to provide mental healthcare within atolls. The vast number of people on waiting lists reinforce the urgency of this. Psychiatry services are now available in 5 atolls of the Maldives.
The Centre for Mental Health established by the Government has arranged 41,890 consultations to date. God willing, the in-patient care unit for this centre in IGMH will be completed this April.
The Government will provide fully operational ambulances to 96 islands which currently have inadequate ambulance services. 41 ambulances have already been sent. God willing, ambulances will be provided to the rest of the islands before the end of March this year.
Having a physical or mental disability does not mean that there is anything wrong with you. Viewing someone differently or mistreating someone because they have a mental or physical disability is a bigger disability.
Up until now, there was no national registry with the total number of disabled people and other relevant data. We are currently developing a national registry for this purpose. This registry will be used to provide essential services, rehabilitation and therapy for people with disabilities. Once this registry is completed in the final quarter of the year, I have decided to increase the allowance given to people with disabilities. In the nation’s eye, every Maldivian is capable and equal.
This Government will continue to operationalize the Gender Equality Action Plan. Even though the Global Gender Gap Index showed that we have made strides in reducing gender imbalances in the health and education sector, there is still a lot of work yet to be done to empower women politically and economically.
We have to work to provide protection, better services and a familial structure to children under State care. We are currently reviewing and improving the standard practices of State care for children. We need a third eye to anticipate issues and monitor their living spaces. The Government is implementing steps to provide a safe, familial environment for children relocated to the atolls from Villilmalé Children’s Shelter, and Hulhumalé Fiyavathi. We are trying to provide a more homely and safe environment for these children.
The Government has decided to build 3 rehabilitation centres for victims of domestic abuse. These centres will be built in R. Ungoofaaru, Hulhumalé and S. Hithadhoo.
The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated existing drug problems. The drug trade is large, organized and runs at the international level. There are numerous challenges to curb the drug trade and close all doors leading to it. However, the Government will use all its resources to address the loopholes that buttress the drug trade. We have created a task force to deal with the issue, and God willing we will be seeing positive changes soon.
The halfway house for drug addicts is currently under construction. We have also started developing the human resources that we need. Once completed, these initiatives will help ease the issue of homeless addicts.
We are running a remand centre for treating addicts and those arrested for drug-related crimes. We have also started building new treatment centres in areas where drug abuse is most widespread. With that, addicts can now receive treatment on their islands under the supervision of local councils and health centres by April.
The modern drug treatment centre that I mentioned during last year’s Presidential Address has now been completed in Hulhumeedhoo. We are currently undergoing final preparations before operationalising the 60-person capacity centre. This February, we will implement a new rehabilitation program for prisoners.
The Maldivian Police and Customs Service had their biggest accomplishments against drug use and trafficking under this Administration. Over 1.3 tons of drugs with a street value of over MVR 1.2 billion were confiscated through 330 operations.
Adequate housing and home ownership is the single biggest need of the Maldivian people. A total of 2,180 houses are being built through programs to provide housing within the atolls. Through the “Gedhoruveriya” loan scheme, 82 individuals will receive over MVR 42 million.
Housing issues for residents of Malé is especially prominent. I feel like there has been more talk than concrete action on the issue of housing in the Malé area.
I would like to state today that work on the 5,000 housing units I announced here last year has been underway in Hulhumalé. Work is due to begin on 2,000 additional housing units in Hulhumalé.
In addition, land will be given to permanent residents of Malé. To that end, we will be providing 1,000 plots of land from Hulhumalé and at least 2,000 plots of land from Gulhifalhu to residents of Malé. I will be starting work on this with you all in June this year. In addition, we will be reclaiming Giraavaru lagoon and will provide 2,000 plots of land to Malé permanent residents. Giraavaru lagoon will be connected to the Thilamalé bridge.
God willing, land will be provided to the permanent residents of Malé in gravest need of housing as promised, by the end of this administrative term. Access to State resources should be guaranteed for all. Our goal is to work together to reach the same destination.
Since the Maldives began compiling economic statistics, the largest and most sudden pitfall was recorded in 2020. As such, compared to the previous year, the GDP of the Maldives decreased by 33.5 percent.
Had we not taken swift and effective measures, Maldivian lives would have been bound towards a state of destitution as never experienced before. God willing, the outcomes of the actions taken by the Government were seen within a year.
The year 2021 ended with the Maldives achieving more than the aspired target in tourism. We targeted one million tourists for 2021. However, over 1.3 million tourists visited the Maldives last year.
Productivity for 2021 is expected to be between 31.6 percent and 38.5 percent. It is much higher than what was forecasted for the Maldives by International Financial Institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF estimates the Maldives to be among the top five economies globally expected to grow the most in 2022. The Government forecasts a 12 percent increase in Maldivian GDP in 2022 and a total of 1.6 million tourists visiting the Maldives this year.
The USD 250 million swap facility from the Reserve Bank of India in July 2019 to help manage the State reserve, was repaid on the 29th of December last year. The current administration has paid off USD 447 million in debt incurred by the previous administration. At the end of 2021, the State reserve stood at USD 791.2 million.
The Government will begin taking measures this year to resolve the foreign currency crisis and contain the value of the Maldivian Rufiyaa. The legal framework relating to the foreign currency market will also be amended.
Running the affairs of State and managing its economy means that the government would be engaged in the process of financial lending and borrowing. The Government has confidence that it will continue to have a healthy economic policy in managing financial debts. The Government is determined to maintain its economic goals. God willing, 2023 will be the year the Government sets the mark to take the economy to pre-Covid-19 levels.
The political transformation that has taken place in the Maldives is more beneficial to the people than ever before. Especially in the atolls, people no longer feel like they are living in poverty or isolation. Today, the Government intends for projects it carries out to be about improving living rather than just survival. Harbours, roads, airports, electricity, water and sewerage systems must be viewed as resources handed over to the people to boost the pace of economic activities.
The purpose of a harbour is to ensure the vessels that are the basis of many people’s livelihoods are docked safely thus ensuring them a comfortable night’s sleep. The old Foakaidhoo harbour was unsafe for vessels to enter during monsoon seasons.
God willing, Foakaidhoo harbour will be upgraded to ensure safety before the monsoon rain arrives in June/July this year.
The Government is currently constructing harbours in 134 islands that are at various stages of development. So far, we have addressed the issue of inadequate harbour facilities in 28 islands.
While Malé Atoll Maafushi has been open to international tourist arrivals for years now, neighbouring Gulhi was closed off due to water contamination like many other islands. That was not too long ago. But as I speak before you today, Gulhi now enjoys an abundance of clean, fresh drinking water. The Government aims to leave behind the hardships that people used to endure.
At the end of last year, the Government signed the last remaining contracts on establishing water and sewerage systems in Maldives. Construction of 240 kilometres of roads in 3 cities and 17 islands are currently underway. These projects amount to MVR 3.4 billion.
Brand new, modern power plants have been built in 39 islands. The upgrading of 31 existing power plants is also swiftly underway. In comparison to the past 70 years, the total energy capacity of the atolls has doubled in the past 3 years.
Solar power is the most abundant source of energy at our disposal. As we aim to transition to a blue economy, we must shift our focus to renewable energy generated from sunlight and the ocean. This is the best means to develop the economy while preserving our fragile ecosystem for future generations.
Solar power systems were installed in 63 islands in the past year. Solar power accounts for 36.5 megawatts of energy generated from a total of 128 islands. Similar systems will be installed in 89 other islands during this year that have the capacity to generate 25 megawatts of solar power. Our plan is to cater for at least a 1,000 households through the Home Solar Programme.
As the world went into mass lockdowns, bringing economic activity to a halt and shutting down sources of income, our ocean was the only place that was not deserted. Surely, the most exalted are the blessings of Almighty Allah. In the last 15 years, last year’s fish purchase was the highest ever made by MIFCO. Fishers are now guaranteed timely payments for their catch.
God willing, commencing in March this year, MIFCO will raise the price per kilo of tuna. From then on, MIFCO’s fish prices will be tied to global prices for tuna. If prices are high in global markets, MIFCO will be able to buy fish at a higher price.
MIFCO will be split from State Trading Organization (STO) and established as an independent company this year. I spoke about improving MIFCO’s operations in the last Presidential Address as well.
The level of income generated by the fish we catch depends on our capacity to adequately and safely store it. This year, we will begin issuing MVR 59 million in loans to install freezers in 118 fishing vessels.
Agriculture tops the list of sectors accorded highest priority under the Government’s initiative to diversify the economy. The Government has established a company named AgroNat for this purpose. AgroNat has thus far contracted 704 farmers in 68 islands. Of which, the produce of 163 farmers is currently bought by AgroNat and sold in markets. Although this undertaking is still in its early stages, we are hopeful that all farmers will stand to benefit as it develops.
To date, MVR 16.3 million have been disbursed to farmers through the SME Bank. We plan to raise the import duty on produce that can be grown with ease locally throughout the year. Our aim is to increase local produce and profits within the Maldives.
Small and medium-sized enterprises make up the backbone of any country’s economy. The number of Maldivians engaged in profit-generating ventures have grown, among them married couples and young people, raising hope for a brighter future for our country.
It used to be that ventures would shut as soon as they started; shops would be boarded up and closed down within a month of opening. This happened because there was no lifeline for businesses to grab on to. Our Government has taken the first step in providing this lifeline by introducing the SME Bank.
The Bank has proven to be a success. Consider the story of a young couple, Aishath Dheena and Hussain Nimal, and how the SME Bank helped them achieve their dream. These individuals wanted to establish a brand that specialised in environmentally friendly sun-care. They created a therapeutic product under their brand “Mula”, and this product has now been certified and approved by relevant official authorities in Australia. The venture that started with a loan they took out from the SME Bank is thriving today. Just like Dheena and Nimal, our Government has a dream, too. We want to see hundreds, if not, thousands, of small businesses like theirs, flourishing in the Maldives. That is the greatest thing a government can do for the economic sector of a country.
It is true that we are nowhere near the target we want to achieve via the SME Bank. The Bank has issued MVR 739 million in loans to 741 businesses. These businesses span across every atoll in the Maldives so that there could be small businesses booming in some 144 different islands in the country.
It is the Government’s priority to incorporate and ensure inclusivity in economic development. As such, 25 percent of the loans that are issued will be solely dedicated to women, youth and persons with disabilities. Without the empowerment of women in the political, economic and the social sectors, the State will not be empowered.
Local talents and businesses should be provided more access to international markets. The global payment gateway is a barrier that excludes locals from these potential markets. God willing, the Government will work towards removing this barrier and opening the payment gateway so that Maldivian brands and talents can be made available to the rest of the world.
Addu is the starting point for every positive change in the country. Addu City’s development is crucial for the development of the rest of the country. Currently, with the line of credit provided by India’s Exim Bank, roadwork is being carried out to rectify the flooding problem in the City. Under this project, 107 kilometres of roads will be laid out in every district where people live. Additionally, in accordance with the Addu City Development Plan, 236.5 hectares of land will be reclaimed, including land designated specifically for tourism. Furthermore, Gan International Airport will be developed with the capacity to serve 1.5 million tourists annually. Over MVR 2.6 billion will be spent on these development projects in Addu City.
Ensuring connectivity between islands has always been one of our main pledges. In order to fulfil this promise, we are working towards establishing a network of high-speed ferries. Yesterday, speed launches were transported to Kulhudhuffushi island and a trial run of the ferry service was carried out in an effort to connect the entirety of the northernmost Boduthiladhunmathi Atoll.
International cargo services are now fully operational in regional ports across the Maldives. Supplies and rations to the Maldives’ northernmost islands are delivered by the State’s shipping company. This is an industry that took off in the Maldives while the rest of the world was at a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We initiated this service to ensure that no island ran out of staples and medicine during hard times, but instead, it has proven to be a new beginning for the country.
The State’s shipping company has achieved incredible feats within a short span of time. Recently, it expanded its fleet with the purchase of an additional cargo vessel. The company has even announced maritime training opportunities for locals in order to build capacity in this industry. The revival of Maldives’ shipping industry is certainly reminiscent of a bygone time of the country’s seafaring history.
The Thilamalé Bridge that is being constructed as a part of the Greater Malé Connectivity Project is the biggest of its kind that has ever been undertaken in Maldives. Work on this project has officially begun. We are hopeful that this bridge will make the lives of everyone living in the Malé area easier, and that it will have positive economic and social impacts.
Our Government gives equal priority to protecting the country’s environment as it does to economic development. A Climate Emergency Act was ratified and came into effect last year. To further enhance the legislative framework that concerns the environment, we will be submitting another bill on waste management, to this Parliament.
One of the biggest challenges affecting Malé area, as well as the whole of the Maldives, is that there are no safe means of disposing waste. 30 years ago, Thilafushi was designated, with the best intentions, as a waste disposal site to counter the growing waste problem in Malé. It was, indeed, a huge relief for Malé. Up until recently, open burning was the preferred method of waste management at Thilafushi. This practice was stopped last September, and Thilafushi is no longer shrouded in harmful gases. Instead, safer mechanisms to dispose of waste have now been established in Thilafushi. Similar systems will be implemented in 64 islands across the nation.
Importing, producing and consuming of 13 single-use plastics have now been completely banned in the Maldives. As long as we live in the Maldives, it is everyone's utmost responsibility to protect the environment of this country.
It is everyone's responsibility to ensure the white sandy beaches, lagoons, reefs and sandbanks survive for the sake of our future generations.
Sports and fitness are essential for the health and well-being of youth, and play a crucial role in national development. There are a number of youth who want to compete at the highest level in their field, and succeed. Their success is a victory for all Maldivians. The various sports facilities established will promote the youth and facilitate international competitions to be held in the Maldives.
The Maldives took part in the International Paralympics held last year. This is the first time Maldivian para-athletes have represented the country in the competition’s 54-year-old history.
26 football turf stadiums have been established across the country. Football matches at the national level can now be played in different parts of the country. Under the Indoor Sports Complex project, the establishment of such indoor sporting facilities will continue this year in different parts of the country.
Major projects planned for this year include the development of the Galolhu National Stadium in Malé City. National table tennis, basketball, volleyball, handball and netball complexes will also be developed right here in Malé City.
It is very important that we are able to present the Maldives as a globally viable water sports destination. As such, the Asian Surf Championship and a leg of the Bodyboarding World Tour will be held in the Maldives this year. Surfing and bodyboarding national team athletes are being paid salaries under the new regulation.
The country's image is produced by its artists. Their brushes, music and poetry will keep the history and traditions of this country alive. It is a misstep that we have not been able to bring the progress and support these artists deserve. Work has begun to rectify this. This year, the Olympus Theatre will be modernized and new doors will be opened for talented people along with music practice rooms. Site museums are underway in Haa Alif, Thaa and Noonu Atoll to protect our cultural heritage.
Justice for forced disappearances and deaths in unknown circumstances has been delayed for longer than I hoped. There remains a lot of work that needs to be done to solve the complexities around these cases. The Presidential Commission has been conducting the investigation into the disappearance of the journalist Ahmed Rilwan with the utmost priority. More than 200 people have been questioned by the Commission so far. Financial transactions have been analysed with the assistance of a foreign financial expert. The Commission has assured me that they will be submitting the findings of their investigation by the middle of this year.
The Prosecutor General's Office has begun appealing the cases of those who were not found guilty for the murder of Yameen Rasheed. The disruptions previously faced by the Presidential Commission in looking into the murder of Yameen Rasheed due to the ongoing nature of the court case is no longer present. The Presidential Commission is currently investigating the case.
The Asset Recovery Commission is one of the entities involved in the investigation of embezzlement and corruption of State assets. The Commission's mandate is mostly focused on investigating the MMPRC scandal. The Commission has decided to submit their findings to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in order to begin legal proceedings. My hope is that members will be appointed to the ACC as soon as the names are forwarded to the Parliament. The next phase will be carried out by the newly formed ACC.
As Head of State, my highest duty is to protect the independence and sovereignty of the Maldives, to provide a peaceful and safe environment for the Maldivian people. In this regard, all officers of the Maldives National Defence Force and the Maldives Police Service have sacrificed their lives, sleep and comfort to ensure a peaceful and safe environment.
The Maldivian Defence Force is the defensive shield of this country. Utilizing opportunities provided by our allies and neighbours, they are currently completing various training programmes in different countries. This past year, multiple operations were undertaken by the military using Dornier aircrafts, helicopters, and the Coast Guard’s vessels and sea ambulances. The Coast Guard provided emergency assistance to a total of 531 people in 364 incidents at sea, and transported 2,199 emergency patients without any consideration to weather conditions.
The Maldivian Defence Force will remain steadfast in defending our country and our religion.
The Maldivian Police are at the forefront of law enforcement. In order to strengthen the police institution, the Maldives Police Service Act has now been implemented. This will ensure that the services provided by the police are within the rule of law and with respect for human rights. During this term, plans to establish a police presence on all inhabited islands will also be implemented.
To increase the role of the police in maintaining the peace and security of the society, the Neighbourhood Policing Model has now been officially launched in 4 cities of the Maldives and in Huvadhu Atoll and Ari Atoll as well. Our hope is to launch this in Kaafu Atoll and Thaa Atoll this year.
To further strengthen the Maldives Police Service and hold it accountable, a modern policing philosophy is now in place. Under this philosophy, police in the field will begin using body cameras this month.
Police investigations need to be more modern and complete than they are now.
The Government will provide additional police officers, as well as training and facilities to expand police services. Our aim is to increase public confidence in the Maldives Police Service. They have always worked tirelessly to protect the property and lives of Maldivians.
The Maldives’ foreign policy is built upon protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, as well as defending human rights. It is founded upon upholding the principles of democracy and safeguarding the country from climate change.
The Maldives’ candidature for the Presidency of the United Nations General Assembly won support from all over the world because the foreign policy maintained by this Administration and the policies of the international community align. The election of Maldivian Foreign Minister, Abdulla Shahid (O.D.R.I.), as the President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly brought great honour to the Maldives.
Globalization is a force that has been created by the integration of nations and economic currents. It is not a force that can be stopped or tamed. What we should do is reap the benefits of it, without being marginalized. We cannot pretend that globalization does not exist. We will continue to play the important role of the Maldives in ensuring the peace and safety of the Indian Ocean in close cooperation with our neighbours.
I would like to extend my gratitude to India, China, Japan, U.S.A., U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the E.U., and other friendly nations for all the development assistance extended to the Maldives.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the members of the Parliament and the Speaker of the Parliament for their hard work during these difficult and unprecedented times.
I am pleased with the manner in which this Parliament exercises its roles and responsibilities.
I have highlighted many things that have been done and will be done for the betterment of the Maldivian people. At the heart of the achievements of the Government so far and the achievements of tomorrow lies good governance. By good governance, I refer to providing all citizens protection of the Government fairly and equally. With every government, there will be those who have differing ideologies.
Good governance cannot be maintained in a country unless all these differences are respected. Good governance can only be ensured with the support of the Honourable Members of Parliament. So far, I have worked to integrate all divisions within our society to close the gap between where Maldives is now and where it is destined to go.
The people entrusted me with this responsibility to carry on in this direction. God willing, I will continue in this regard.
I pray to Almighty Allah to bless the Maldivian people and the Maldives forever.
وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُه