Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Decentralization? Decentralization? And more Decentralization?

This is the new fad in the Maldivian politics and no doubt it’s a wonderful topic for a would be PhD graduate yeah? Having heard of this word a thousand times from our President and his “political graduates”, I thought of having a deeper look at it and its potential in our country.

Obviously it all sounds good. It’s the perfect recipe for a country that’s vying for political freedom. It surely is good news that finally our country is talking about the future and a fine system!

I don’t want to indulge in writing a thesis here nor give you a literature review of what decentralization is. But to give a small yet simple enough meaning, its all about trimming down the layers of a traditional hierarchy and giving the power (empowering) to people at the lower levels to make their own decisions in the best interest of their units. My question then becomes … is this possible? And if so, how can we ensure the smooth functioning of a decentralized system?

Ofcourse it is possible. It is possible for us to break down our administrative arms to small pieces and give these units the required resources and authority to make decisions. But I must admit that for such a system to function effectively (ultimately serving its main purpose), some conditions or pre-conditions needs to be looked at first.

To operate in such a system, its not only the heads of these units that must be educated and disciplined enough to function properly, but also the people at the lowest levels. Given masses of poverty, often controlled by the very rich, one thing that is inevitable is the creation of “black markets of centralization”. These would become the invisible systems that defy the very meaning of decentralization. As a result, what was once the objective will soon follow the inevitable. And the inevitable will become a costly yet a daunting task for our government.

Equal to the levels of education comes the current climax of events that are experienced by the citizens of a country. For such a massive system to be in place, we no doubt have to be prepared to introduce it in the most appropriate of times. The question is are the current events or foreseeable events consistent with the implementation or introduction of such a costly system? Well, my answer to this question becomes NO! Given our consideration must be placed in minimizing costs in a tough economic market, it is of no doubt that the introduction of decentralized arms or systems would escalate the costs that will be incurred by our governments. Firstly there are costs of actually introducing the system, then there are costs of inefficiencies that we have to bear (knowing that very costly decisions will be made from the bottom), and last but not least the opportunity costs!

I did tell you it is topic to write a book or a thesis. But my intention is to highlight a major area of concern here. Two that I have pointed out are both related to costs of actually implementing and running this system. I do understand that we have to tolerate mistakes to move forward. But what I do not understand is whether we are rich enough to absorb the costs of these mistakes. In other words, can we afford these mistakes?

At times of uncerstainities and chaos, it will always be the centralized models that will save any system from absolute failure. We all have heard a million times that our country is bankrupt and in the verge of being sold out to India. Being bankrupt obviously should mean we cannot afford to play games with the current system or a would-be system. We cannot give less than educated people the money and the power to make decisions, we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of trial and error approaches, nor can we approach such issues with speed and learn-as-you-go attitudes.

I don’t know about you, but I do welcome the idea of decentralization. I do welcome such a fine system to become the dominant system in our country. No matter who is behind such ideas, I do not believe that Maldives is ready “right now” to embrace such a model. But hey Mr. President, I believe that the time has come to start educating people of such a model change that might take place three years from now! Hey, its just my opinion!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Doctors, teachers, lecturers and state attorneys go on stike to demand pay rise - Can they buy more?

Local doctors are on strike today, because they are not happy with the recent pay re-structuring. According to a doctor I met last night, his take home salary has decreased by about Rf3,000 after the restructure, although the government and civil service commission claims that there is a pay rise across the board. Doctors also claim that salaries of police officers and army has increased, however, doctors’ salaries have gone down. Because of today’s strike, more than 15 doctors have not reported for duty, and as a result many patients are unable to get services.

Meanwhile, a group of 450 teachers are preparing for a second strike, and this time they are determined to continue the strike until their demands for the pay rise is met. This is despite the fact that the civil service commission has already raised the teachers’ salaries in February. Similarly, Lecturers of the Faculty of Engineering of the Maldives College of Higher Education went on strike this week, also due to their unsatisfied demand regarding the pay structure.

It doesn’t stop there. State attorneys working at the Attorney General’s Office (15 out of a total of 18) did not report to work on Sunday also due to similar reasons. Apparently, the Permanent Secretary is reported to have resigned soon after the incident.

It's most likely that the government will in the end, again raise the salaries of the teachers, lecturers and the state attorneys. This is in addition to the pay rise to all civil servants in February 2009. On top of about Rf200 million monthly deficit faced by the government. On top of the declining tourist arrivals due to deep recession in Europe. On top of the increasing inflation due to increase in spending power with the circulation of Rufiyaa.

I don’t know whether these civil servants realize that the global economy is in a very bad shape. Our economy is also heading towards a major crisis period, due to the rising government deficit, increasing external debt, liquidity problems in the foreign exchange market, and as a result of all these, a possible shortage of basic needs in the market, and the possibility of further increase in prices of goods and services. They may all get a rise in salary and with it increase the amount of money they get each month. However, with prices increasing rapidly, they would soon feel that still they are not able to buy more with that money. The real value of their income would not have increased. What then? Organize another strike and demand another pay raise?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Economic Tsunami & The sPackage

When it comes to stimulating an economy, commonsense would suggest that we need to put more money in the hands of our public. By doing this, the public would start spending or is more likely to keep spending so that we have strong demand in the economy for the general goods and services. More demand or strong demand would mean that shops and service centres around the nation would have products that gets sold in a reasonable timeframe and hence, these same places would have a reason to keep current employment levels or perhaps create new vacancies. However, with all these cash injections it is no guarantee for any government that their plans would bear fruit. Key questions become, what if the nation start saving? What if the nation start paying its debt rather than create any new demand for goods and services? Last but not least, what if from every dollar they inject to the economy, a significant majority leaves the economy in the benefit of some foreign country?

Maldives once again couldn’t resist the temptation that all westerners, yeap you heard me right, all westerners that had the likes of iPhones and ePassports have finally started talking about the sPackage! So why not we right?

My opinions might largely differ from yours and I obviously respect that fact. But I do hope that someone out there would start realizing that these are times in which our country needs real experts to mastermind a rescue package to our nation. The likes of Movie Stars, ex Football Players, Activists, Businessmen (by default), or perhaps men with loud voices might not have the capability nor the economic awareness to think outside the box and create a meaningful package that a country like ours would be able to swallow!

Maldives is a country that would never be talked about in the international arena if not for its natural beauty. I think we have a large tendency to overly rely on our fame and mistake our true identity when it comes to devising sustainable strategies. I say this because we have this massive “copy cat” attitude and never once would think for its own on creating a set of ideology that’s truly maldivian in nature. Be it fashion, politics and now economics, we always do start following the big guns! Ofcourse sometimes we will look good (when it comes to fashion), sometimes its nice to read statements in the media with the words “political freedom” (when it comes to politics), but mind you, there could be times when it becomes rather outloud “ridiculous” and “silly” to follow such nations in devising economic rescue packages to counter the economic tsunami the world is in.

On a positive note, it is rather comforting news that our parliamentarians have “finally” begun talking about our rather unique and fragile economy (Minivan News, 19.02.09, Majilis Considers Stimulus Package). However positive it may sound, I just could not help but wonder why we even have the slightest of desires to sit down and talk about creating an sPackage just like how the US, or UK or AUS have done. Why on earth would we even spend precious minutes discussing this? Are we still “assuming” consciously or unconsciously that Maldives is a strong economy? Do we have the necessary economic fundamentals to create the much needed hype in re-igniting local demand? Oh yes, those economies that we so love to mimic have got their basics and perhaps more so strongly their attitudes right! They don’t have citizens that would think about flying away for medicals, higher education or even perhaps leisure. Stimulus packages are designed with the belief that those very injections would be utilized to penetrate the demand “within” an economy. One could always tolerate a slight leakage (money moving away from the economy), but what a country cannot tolerate nor afford is significant holes in its economy that would not just leak money bit by bit, or drop by drop, but overflow in gallons!

Of course I agree with the state minister of finance Ahmed Assad in saying “we need some way to stimulate the economy”. Also do note honourable state minister, what we cannot do is plan a stimulus package with the wrong ingredients!

I am no expert in Maldivian economics, but I do follow our economy and contrast it to what’s taking place globally. Me being a critique on this subject matter does not also mean that I am overly pessimistic about the whole set of ideas or intended strategies. I know given the right mindset, the right ingredients, we can devise a strategy that can see us through this tsunami.

One crucial element or shall we call ingredient in any such strategy must be building demand and ensuring that whatever money we have, gets rolled within our economy. Greater thought to this area makes me strongly believe that there is no better way to start than lending a hand to the backbone of our economy – the tourism sector. Question is how?

Look at the facts. World in recession. Governments promoting spending “within” an economy and consumers spending money while their handbrakes are on. These are just a few facts that must create panic in the minds of every resort operator in the Maldives. All these resorts would have significant levels of fixed costs, and their main intentions would be to minimize their variable costs. Probably less demand for resort supplies (once again this could lead to panic in the supply business platform), an eye on redundancies (which will lead to families getting hurt) and perhaps a desire to lower its rates in the hope of penetrating just someone out there (thus translating into lost revenues). Given these and much more, I say our government partner with these resort operators and try building local traffic to these resorts. I know even right now it is possible for us locals to visit these resorts, but guys, I am talking about systematic manners or perhaps large scale! Opening doors to locals can have damaging impacts (guess from the eyes of the operators). But what’s important is any amounts of money that could help reduce their fixed expenditures. If governments gets involved, it could help create new industries such as local tour operators, more choice for that individual who so loves in going to Sri Lanka. Well fingers crossed, hope we Maldivians still be disciplined enough.

Above is just an idea. Creating economic activities within a given economy would be the most important thing any government should do if they were to stimulate the economy. Borrowing more money could do this, but it sure might not be the best of options. What our country needs is a shift in mindset. People who could think outside the box and I guess the bottomline is, leave that economic shit to the ones with real know-how! Then again, I trust there will be plenty out there who would have creative solutions! -AE-

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Maldivian Way or The High Way

Ever wondered what is meant by the Maldivian Way of doing things? Let me try highlight a few pointers on some of the things that have stood the test of time!

I did experience an era in which most of us lived in some sort of poverty. An era where you get a fully rationed biskoadhu and a cup of tea for breakfast. An era where you had only one uniform to wear for school. But before long, even I as a kid started experiencing the fair share of luxury from Gold Cup boots (to be worn at school) to riding the best of Motor Cycles. Lets have a look at some of the things that are significant enough to form the very basis of my initial question.

First there was Giffili which we obviously have had the negative experiences. When the so called faahaana came to the picture, every house invested on more than what was required. Every room needed an attached toilet!

I remember the times when I used to go to the house next door to make fone calls when Dhiraagu for the first time introduced the fone service. Once again before long, every individual ended up with a number of their own.

Television shared the same story. Its not only the sitting rooms that required a television, but most bed rooms had to have a television of its own. Probably the early 1990s saw the introduction of satellite channels, that black Dish that was the wholemark of every roof in male! No matter how rich or how poor you were, it soon became a basic necessity!

Late 1990s saw the coming of Mobile phones to the market. Every Maldivian, big or small, male or female, had to carry one in their pockets. And stop me if I am wrong, whether you earned a few hundred rufiyaa, you still claimed that you could afford those luxuries! A look at today reveals that, way before apple introduced its iPhone, most Maldivians had one in their pockets! Well … that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you got the point right?

Look at the role of taxis in Male. Ofcourse it is a tiny little island but then again you couldn’t go from Henvieru to Maafannu on your foot! It has to be the taxi! What a way to live a life.

Add to this list how some of us spend weekends in Sri Lanka, buys flat screen televisions, wears a tag or another expensive watch, takes breakfast in café’s or perhaps can afford to pay Mrf40-50 for a coffee two or three times a day!

Living life in Male aint for the faint hearted for sure. Even world renowned economists wouldn’t have a clue of how the Maldivians function! They’d be amazed by what we do with what we earn!

I know that the list could go on and on and on. I am sure you’d have many more to add to the above list. Before I pen-off, lets have a look at what we have done as a nation to see whether we can depict any similarities.

I am not going to mention about the luxury yacht of the former president, nor am I going to dwelve on the expensive palace that he built to support his luxury life style. But lets take a look at two, quite extraordinary events. One which has long been history, and the other that’s not going to take too long before it finds its way into our lifestyles.

Passports! Obviously we all need a passport to travel. But what amazed me most was the fact that we were one of the first 10 countries to introduce e-passports to its citizens! Ofcourse there’s a price tag in obtaining these passports and that price would obviously be paid by our Governments!

Lastly to the more recent. But before I mention what this recent activity is, lets first paint an important picture. Just like the individual we depicted in the opening paragraphs who had to have that black satellite Dish on top of their roofs (discarding the question of affordability), we as a nation are living or perhaps moving into times that might question our affordability as a nation more than what we used to before. Just imagine this scenario; our politicians go to the world democratic market where they can buy and sell democratic products. The best ones would obviously have a price tag that’s as fat as building a gold palace or buying a luxury yacht. They check all products on sale and decides, hey hang on a minute, this Decentralization Program has it all from accountability to effective decision making. Lets buy it cos we as Maldivians would buy the best regardless of whether we could afford em’ or not!

I know … I know … not all would agree with me. But guys, I base my conclusions on facts which are clear and unambiguous. Facts which even the common man could agree or comprehend. From what I see, I tend to believe that the Maldivian Way has its flaws and when times calls for tough measures, I think our very own ways will tend to harm us more!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oil is cheap - as long as the supply doesn't run out

As the world’s major economies are in a recession, the demand for oil has decreased, and as a result price of oil gone down significantly to record lows in recent history. When the major economies like Japan, China and USA are in an economic recession, manufacturing is expected to be down, and demand may not recover within the year. Then, we may see oil price lows of even $30 per barrel this year. According to Bloomberg, crude oil for March delivery is at $37.50 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in Singapore.

The price of oil escalated to $147 per barrel in July 2008 before it bottomed at about $37 early this year. As at today, the price of oil remains at $44.8 per barrel. Producers are said to be operating at near maximum capacity at about 89.5 million barrels per day. When the economic recessions are over, and then when the economies start their engines, the demand for oil may outrun the supply. And the price of oil is expected to hike up to even $200 and above sometime in 2010 or 2011. The main reason: as we are in the fight to the depletion of oil reserves in the world and this depletion is happening at an alarmingly faster rate.

Despite the limited supply of oil, the demand is expected to grow in the near future, as an average American uses two times the amount of oil used by a European, four times the amount used by Japanese, 12 times the amount used by a Chinese consumer, and 30 times that of an Indian consumer. This is when there are almost 3 billion people in the world living in poverty without the luxury of oil. Just imagine when these people are lifted out of poverty and start oil consumption, how the demand of oil is expected to grow. Bottom line: Unless we find a replacement to oil, the existing stock of oil is going to shrink day by day. Some estimates suggest that it may take 35 years from now for the oil to run out – that is assuming that there is no demand increase, or population increase.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Are we heading towards difficult times? Some inspiration by 'Maldive'

Here's a comment by my good friend 'Maldive' to one of my previous posts.

I have been following the global financial crisis very closely n have been wondering about its impact to the Maldives. As my profession and background is very much in the financial and management side, I often wonder what can our government do to minimize the impacts of this recession the world is facing. I guess without a doubt we will be highly exposed to this recession come 2009.

The points you have posed are absolutely correct and the best part is that you have shown me that atleast there are some people in Maldives that are fearing about the impact of this crisis. It is rather sad realizing that our country is a victim of a new epidemic that’s spreading viciously from island to island, community to community, family to family and inviduals to indivudals.

What I am talking about is politics. Media headlines is all about Politics and nothing makes headlines if it is not politics. This is a sad dose of reality and I wish sooner rather than later we change this and start realizing that there are better things to life than just politics. Anyways, I am not here to talk about politics, and funnily enough my new year resolution is about totally stop talking about politics!I would like to mention couple of solutions that our government could start taking to help minimize the impact of this financial/ecomic meltdown. What I am about to highlight is twofold. One is actioning through spending and the other actioning through earnings.

Both related to the dollars or foreign reserves!When it comes to spending, we have to aknowledge that Maldivians are lavish spenders. Going to Colombo, Bangkok, Dubai, or India is more like visiting a next door neighbor. What we don’t realize is that the sum total of these spendings in any given year could reach to a significant amount of foreign exchanges leaving our own reserves and damaging the economy. Every dollar that leaves our nation is an outflow of foreign exchange reserves and these are more like just wasting our wealth! I think we need to educate us (the individuals) in stopping from spending lavishly on these unwanted trips!

Individuals can make a difference, and these individuals firstly needs to be taught of the consequences of their decisions. When it comes to earnings, I am highlighting the fact that we need to show our exporters (mainly MIFCO), the right way of doing things. I believe and I know this as well, MIFCO is renowned to be run very inefficiently! This is where we could generate huge cost savings (by finding ways of running as efficiently and effectively as possible) and ultimately pass those savings in terms of more effective and competitive pricings. Promoting our local stocks is another way of moving forward especially knowing that we rely so heavily on imported goods.

If MIFCO could be run efficiently, why not all Maldivians rely on their produce? If our fishermen can catch fish, why not we buy fish instead of chicken? If Srilanka can sell eggs, why not we start doing this in large scale locally? If we can sell eggs, why not we start selling poultry? My point is, we are capable of these things! My point is generating demands for local produce can help our economy big time and we will be able to minimize this risk that’s daunting our shores! Availability of fruits and veggies, kaashi and the baraboas, can also be done. Those farmers needs a little bit of a pat on their backs, and the full governmental support! These are the times in which our economic saviours will not be wearing a suit and sitting in the parliament wondering about what next to do with the thousands of irrational incomes they would receive at the end of the month! These are times where the economic saviours will be YOU and ME, the common man, or should I say that everyday fisherman or farmer that you picture wearing a sarong, a torn apart shirt, a funny hat, and lots of reddish nuts in their mouth!I also believe we need to do something about every dollar that leaves our economy via the remittances made by the expats.

Our workforce has a huge percentage of expats and every dollar that leaves our shores is a wound that our economy suffers. Its impact can only be realized in tough times and as we move into such an era, I guess our governments needs to come up with some creative means of holding on to these dollars. Cutting back on the expats could be one approach, but I don’t believe that’s the only approach either. We could easily devise a short term plan in which the banks could play a role in holding on to those dollars (maybe by way of a special expat saving scheme – or something!)!!!Anyways, as Naseer had highlighted, we are moving into some tough times, and I guess tough times calls on to tough measures. I wish to add just one word to Naseers final statement – Spend only what you earn WISELY!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The President attacks the Central Bank

The President attacked the central bank of the country, MMA, in a press briefing on Monday, saying that MMA is delaying the process of granting license to three commercial banks to be established in Maldives. His exact words were like “I don’t know why it would take so long to put a stamp on a registry”. However, according to MMA only one bank has so far formally applied for a license as at today ( What we gather from the minivannews article is that although several banks have expressed interest and had meetings with MMA officials, there have been no applications so far other than the Russian bank. The President has with his harsh words, attacked the central bank of the country and in the process either he lied or did not have the correct information.

The President also declared that with the opening of new commercial banks, the US dollar shortage in the Maldivian market will be resolved. There was also a promise of revaluing Rufiyaa to Rf 10 per US dollar within the next five years.

The present shortage in the US dollar and the parallel (black) market is not a new phenomenon in the Maldives foreign exchange market. There has always been a mismatch between what we earn and the outflow of foreign currency in our economy, and this mismatch has grown alarmingly since 2004. However, the pressure to our exchange rate was disguised after tsunami when we had huge inflows of US dollars through international grants and loans. The existing commercial banks also borrowed from overseas and made US dollar loans to the private sector. All these factors helped in defending the current peg of 12.75.

Unfortunately in the last quarter of 2008, the overseas borrowings from the commercial banks and the injection of US dollars by these banks into the Maldives economy almost stopped. This is believed to be mainly due to the financial difficulties facing the global markets. The crisis has been in a way, a blessing in disguise, as external borrowings by the private sector and the government are all temporary solutions to the mismatch between the foreign currency that earn and spend. As long as we don’t increase the foreign currency revenue, there’ll always be pressure on our exchange rate and shortage of US dollars in the market. Hence, opening new branches of foreign commercial banks may not provide a solution to the problem.

Maldives economy is facing an economic slowdown, problems in the exchange rate, and high inflation. Many of the world economies are in a recession with low inflation. The exchange rate pressure and the high inflation is mostly a problem of our own making. It has less to do with the global economic recession.
The years of economic mismanagement and the financing of the government debt through increasing the money supply of Rufiyaa, has led to a boost in the domestic demand, and an increase in the domestic prices (inflation). While Europe and most other economies had below 5% inflation rates, our economy had 12% inflation in 2008. This inflation differential has put pressure on the real value of Rufiyaa in terms of other currencies.

It's times like these that a new President needs to work closely with the Finance Minister and the Governor of central bank in order to restore confidence. It's times like these, we need to show coordination between different economic agents in the country. But what do we see? The President attacking the central bank, as if the central bank belongs to the opposition party.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

އިންފްލޭޝަން މައިތިރިކުރުނ

ރާއްޖޭގެ އިޤްތިޞާދާއިމެދު ވާހަކަތަކުގައި ފަހަކަށްއައިސް އެންމެ ގިނައިން އިވޭ ވާހަކައަކީ މުދަލާއި ޚިދުމަތުގެ އަގުތައް (އިންފްލޭޝަން) މައްޗަށްދާވާހަކައެވެ. ނޫސްތަކުގައިވެސް އެންމެ ބޮޑަށް ފާޑުކިޔަމުންދަނީ ރާއްޖޭގައި އިންފްލޭޝަން މައްޗަށްދާކަމާއިމެދުއެވެ. އަދި އިންފްލޭޝަން މައްޗަށް ދިއުމުގެ ސަބަބުތައްވެސް ބަޔާންކުރަމުންދެއެވެ.
އިންފްލޭޝަންއަކީ ކޮބައިހެއްޔެވެ؟ އިންފްލޭޝަންއާއިމެދު އެހާބޮޑަށް ކަންބޮޑުވާންޖެހެނީ ކީއްވެގެން ހެއްޔެވެ؟ މިސުވާލުތަކުގެ ޖަވާބު އެންމެ ރަގަޅަށް އޮޅުންފިލުވައިދޭން އެގޭނީ ލެޓިން އެމެރިކާގެ ޤައުމުތަކުގެ މީހުންނަށެވެ. ބޮލީވިއާފަދަ ޤައުމުތަކުގައި އަށްޑިހައިގެ އަހަރުތަކުގައި އިންފްލޭޝަން ރޭޓް %600 އަށްވެސް އަރައިގެން ދިޔައެވެ. ދުވާލަކު ތިންހަތަރުފަހަރު ތަކެތީގެ އަގުތައް މައްޗަށް އަރައިގެންދެއެވެ. ކޮފީތައްޓެއްގެ އަގުވެސް މިލިއަނަށް އަރައިގެން ދިޔައެވެ. ފައިސާގެ އެއްވެސް އަގެއް ނެތިގެންގޮސް، ރައްޔިތުން ފަޤީރުކަމުގެ ޙާލަތަށް ވެއްޓި، އިޤްތިޞާދަށް ބޮޑުވަބާއަކަށް ވެގެންދިޔައެވެ.

މީގެ އިތުރުން 70 ގެ ކުރީކޮޅު އެމެރިކާ، އިގިރޭސިވިލާތް، ، އަދި ޖަޕާން ގައިވެސް އިންފްލޭޝަން މައްޗަށްދާންފެށިއެވެ. އަދި މިހާރު ރާއްޖޭގައި ވާހަކަދެކެވޭ ފަދައިން މީހުން މިކަމާއި ކަންބޮޑުވުން ފާޅުކުރަމުން ދިޔައެވެ. އަދި އަގުތައް މައްޗަށްދާ ސަބަބުތަކުގެ ގޮތުގައި ތަފާތު ވާހަކަތައް ދެކެވެމުން ދިޔައެވެ. އެމެރިކާ ސަރުކާރުން ބުނަމުން ދިޔައީ ކުންފުނިތަކުން މުސާރަތައް ބޮޑުކުރުމުގެ ސަބަބުން އިންފްލޭޝަން އިތުރަށް މައްޗަށް ދަނީކަމުގައެވެ. އަނެއްބަޔަކު ބުނީ އިންފްލޭޝަން މައްޗަށްދަނީ އިމްޕޯރޓްކުރެވޭ މުދަލުގެ ސަބަބުންކަމުގައެވެ. ބޭރުދުނިޔޭގައި އަގުތައް މައްޗަށް ދާތީވެ، އިންފްލޭޝަން މަތިވަނީކަމުގައެވެ. ބައެއް ޤައުމުތަކުގެ ސަރުކާރުން ގޯސްކުރަމުންދިޔައީ ޢަރަބި ތެޔޮ އުފައްދާ ޤައުމުތަކެވެ. އެއީ، ތެލުގެ އަގު ބޮޑުވުމުގެ ސަބަބުން އިންފްލޭޝަން މައްޗަށްދަނީކަމަށެވެ. އެކަކު އަނެކަކުގެ ބޮލަށްޖަހަމުން ދިޔައެވެ. އިންފްލޭޝަންގެ ވަބާއިން އެމެރިކާއާއި އިގިރޭސިވިލާތް ސަލާމަތްނުވެވިގެން އުޅެނިކޮށް ޖަޕާން އިންފްލޭޝަންއިން ސަލާމަތްވެ، އެހެނިހެން ޤައުމުތަކަށް މިސާލަކަށްވެގެންދިޔައެވެ. ޖަރުމަނަކީ ޤައުމަށްބޭނުންވާ ހުރިހާ ތެލެއް އެތެރެކުރަމުންދިޔަ ޤައުމެކެވެ. އެކަމަކު ޖަރުމަނުގައި އޭރު އިންފްލޭޝަންގެ މައްސަލަ ކުރިމައްޗެއްނުވެއެވެ. އެހެންވީމަ އިންފްލޭޝަން މައްޗަށްދަނީ ކޮންސަބަބަކާއިހުރެހެއްޔެވެ؟

ރާއްޖޭގައި އިންފްލޭޝަންގެ ސަބަބުތަކަކީ އެއްބަޔަކުބުނާގޮތުންނަމަ، އިމްޕޯރޓްކުރާ މުދަލުގެ އަގުތައް މައްޗަށްދިއުމެވެ. އަނެއްބަޔަކު ގޯސްކުރަނީހަމަ ތެލުގެ އަގުބޮޑުވުމެވެ. މާލޭގައި ގެދޮރުގެ ކުލިއަގުބޮޑުވުންވެސް އެއްބަޔަކު އިންފްލޭޝަން މައްޗަށްދިއުން މާނަކުރެއެވެ.އެންމެ ގިނައިން ދެކެވޭ ވާހަކައަކީ ސަރުކާރުގެ ބަޖެޓްބޮޑުވެގެންދިއުމެވެ.

އިކޮނޮމިކްސް ޢިލްމުގައި އިންފްލޭޝަން މާނަކުރެވެނީ މުދަލާއި ޚިދުމަތްތަކުގެ އަގުތައް ޖުމްލަގޮތެއްގައި ބޮޑުވަމުންދިއުމެވެ. މަހަކުން އެއްފަހަރު ގިނަ ޢަދަދެއްގެ މުދަލާއި ޚިދުމަތުގެ އަގުތައް ބޮޑުވާ ނިސްބަތް އިތުރުވަމުންދާނަމަ، އިންފްލޭޝަން އިތުރުވުން މެދުވެރިވެދާނެއެވެ. މީގައި ސަމާލުކަންދޭންވީ އަގުތައް ބޮޑުވާ ނިސްބަތަށެވެ. އިންޑިޔާގައި ކުއްލިއަކަށް ފިޔަލުގެ އަގުބޮޑުވެގެންދިއުމުން ރާއްޖޭގައި ފިޔަލުގެ އަގު ބޮޑުވެގެން ހިގައިދާނެއެވެ. އެކަމަކު، ފިޔަލުގެ އަގު ނުހިފެހެއްޓި މައްޗަށް އަރަމުންދާނަމަ، އެއީ އިންޑިޔާގައި ފިޔާއަގުބޮޑުވުން ސަބަބެއްކަމުގައިނުވެ ހިގައިދާނެއެވެ. ޢާންމުގޮތެއްގައި، އިންފްލޭޝަން މައްޗަށްދާނަމަ، ފައިސާގެ އަގުވެއްޓެމުންދާނެއެވެ. މަދު ޢަދަދެއްގެ މުދާގަތުމަށް، ބައިވަރު ފައިސާ ބޭނުންކުރަންޖެހިދާނެއެވެ. ކުއްލިއަކަށް، ޢާއިލާތަކުގެ ޚަރަދުތައް އިތުރުވެ، ލިބޭ އާމްދަނީއިން ދެކޮޅުނުޖެހޭ ޙާލަތަކަށް ވެއްޓިގެން ހިގައިދާނެއެވެ. މިހެންކަމުން އިންފްލޭޝަން ޙައްލުކުރާނީ ކިހިނެއް ހެއްޔެވެ؟

އިންފްލޭޝަންގެ އެންމެބޮޑު ސަބަބަކީ ސަރުކާރުގެ މާލީއިދާރާއެވެ. ނުވަތަ ސެންޓްރަލް ބޭންކެވެ. އިތުރަށް ފައިސާގެ ނޫޓް ޗާޕްކުރާވަރަކަށް (މަނީ ސަޕްލައި އިތުރުވާވަރަކަށް) އިންފްލޭޝަން ދުވަހެއްދުވަހަކަށް މައްޗަށްދާނެއެވެ. އެމެރިކާގައިވެސް އިންފްލޭޝަން އޭރު މައްޗަށްދިޔައީ މިސަބަބާއިހުރެއެވެ. ޖަރުމަނުގައި ދެވަނަ ބޮޑު ހަގުރާމައަށްފަހު އިންފްލޭޝަން އަތްނުފޯރާވަރަށް މައްޗަށްދިޔައީވެސް މިސަބަބާއިހުރެއެވެ. އެހެންކަމުން އިންފްލޭޝަން މައިތިރިކުރަންބޭނުންނަމަ، އިތުރަށް ނޫޓްޗާޕުކުރުން މަދުކުރަންވީއެވެ. ރާއްޖޭގައިނަމަ އިންފްލޭޝަން މައިތިރިކުރުމުގެ އެންމެ ބޮޑު ބާރުއޮތީ އެމް.އެމް.އޭ ގެ އަތުގައެވެ.

އެމް.އެމް.އޭ އިތުރަށް ނޫޓްޗާޕްކުރަނީ، ނުވަތަ މަނީ ސަޕްލައި އިތުރުކުރަނީ ކީއްވެގެން ހެއްޔެވެ؟ އެންމެ ބޮޑު ސަބަބަކީ ސަރުކާރުގެ ޚަރަދުތައް އިތުރުވަމުންދާތީވެ، މި ޚަރަދުތައް ފޫބެއްދުމަށްޓަކައި، ވަގުތީގޮތުން ހޯދަންޖެހޭ ފައިސާއަށްޓަކައެވެ. އެމެރިކާގައި 70 ގެ އަހަރުތަކުގައި އިންފްލޭޝަން އެންމެ ފަހުން ހުއްޓުމަކަށް ގެނައީ މަނީ ސަޕްލައި އިތުރުކުރުން މަޑުޖައްސާލައިގެންނެވެ. އެހެންކަމުން، އެމް.އެމް.އޭ އިން އެންމެ ފުރަތަމަވެސް ގޯސްކުރާނީ ފިނޭންސް މިނިސްޓްރީއެވެ. ފިނޭންސް މިނިސްޓްރީއިން ގޯސްކުރާނީ އެހެނިހެން މިނިސްޓްރީއިން ހުށަހަޅާފައިވާ ބޮޑެތި ބަޖެޓުތަކެވެ. އެހެނިހެން މިނިސްޓްރީތަކުން ގޯސްކުރާނީ ކާކުހެއްޔެވެ؟ ރައްޔިތުންނެވެ. މިނިސްޓްރީތަކުގެ ކިބައިން އެކިއެކި ކަންތައްތައް ބޭނުންވަނީ ރައްޔިތުންނެވެ. ފަޅުފުންކުރުމާއި، ބަނދަރު ހެދުމުގެ ވާހަކައާއި، ޓެކްސްޓްފޮތާއި، އެހެނިހެން ޚިދުމަތްތަކަށް ޚަރަދުކުރުމަށް އެދެނީ ރައްޔިތުންނެވެ. ރައްޔިތުންގެ ޑިމާންޑްތައް އިތުރުވާރަކަށް ސަރުކާރުގެ ޚަރަދުތައް އިތުރުވެ، ބަޖެޓް ޑެފިސިޓްވެގެންދާނެއެވެ. އަދި މިކަމުގެ ސަބަބުން އެމް.އެމް.އޭ އިން ނޫޓް ޗާޕްކުރުން އިތުރުކުރަމުންދާނެއެވެ. އިންފްލޭޝަން އިތުރުވާނެއެވެ. މިކަމުގެ ޙައްލަކީ ކޮބައިހެއްޔެވެ؟

އިލްފްލޭޝަންއާއި، އެހެނިހެން އިޤްތިޞާދީ މައްސަލަތައް ޙައްލުކުރުމުގައި އެންމެ މުހިންމު އެއްކަމަކީ ސެންޓްރަލްބޭންކް ފިނޭންސް މިނިސްޓްރީއާއި، ސަރުކާރުގެ ބާރުނުފޯރާ މުސްތަޤިއްލު ތަނަކަށްހެދުމެވެ. ލެޓިން އެމެރިކާގެ ޤައުމުތަކުންވެސް ފަހަކަށްއައިސް ހޯދާފައިވާ ކުރިއެރުމުގެ އެއް އަސްލަކީ ސެންޓްރަލް ބޭންކް އިންޑިޕެންޑެންޓްކުރުމެވެ. ދާދިފަހުން ރާއްޖޭގެ ސެންޓްރަލްބޭންކް، އެމް.އެމް.އޭވެސް ވަނީ ޤާނޫނެއްގެ ދަށުން މުސްތަޤިއްލުތަނަކަށްވެފައެވެ. އެހެންކަމަށްވާނަމަ، އެމް.އެމް.އޭ ގެ ގަވަރނަރަށް ފިނޭންސް މިނިސްޓްރީގެ ނުފޫޒު ފޯރައިގެންނުވާނެއެވެ. ގަވަރނަރަކީ، ފިނޭންސް މިނިސްޓަރު އަންގާހާ ކަމަކަށް ތަބާނުވާ، ފިނޭންސް މިނިސްޓަރަށް ޖެހިލުންނުވާ މީހަކަށްވާންޖެހެއެވެ. އެމް.އެމް.އޭ ގެ މުސްތަޤިއްލުކަން އެންމެ ފުރިހަމަ މާނައިގާ އޮތްކަމުގައިވާނަމަ، ރާއްޖޭގެ އިންފްލޭޝަން މައިތިރިކުރުމުގެ ބާރު އެމް.އެމް.އޭ އަށް ލިބިގެންވެއެވެ.

އަނެއްކަމަކީ ސަރުކާރުގެ ޚަރަދުތައް ބޮޑުވެގެން ދިއުމުގެ ވާހަކައެވެ. ރާއްޖޭގައި ފަހަކަށްއައިސް އިސްރާފުގެ ބައިވެސް ވަނީ ވަރަށް ބޮޑުތަން އިތުރުވެފައެވެ. އޮފީސްތަކުގެ ބަޖެޓުން ކޮންމެ މަހަކުވެސް އެތައް ފައިސާއެއް ތަފާތު ޙަފްލާތަކާއި، ރަމްޒީކަންކަމުގައި ބޭކާރުވެގެން އެބަދެއެވެ. ކުރެވޭ މަސައްކަތާއި އަޅާބަލާއިރު ސަރުކާރުގެ ވުޒާރާތަކުގެ މުވައްޒިފުންގެ ޢަދަދުވެސް ގިނަވެފައެވެ. ބޮޑެތި މުސާރަ ލިބޭ، ނަމަވެސް އެދެވޭ ޚިދުމަތެއްނުކުރާ މުވައްޒިފުންގެ ޢަދަދުވެސް މިވަނީ މާގިނަވެފައެވެ. އެހެންކަމުން އިންފްލޭޝަން ޙައްލުކުރުމުގައި، ފިނޭންސް މިނިސްޓްރީއާއި، އެމް.އެމް.އޭ ގެ ޒިންމާ ވަރަށް ބޮޑެވެ. އެންމެ ބޮޑު އެއް ޙައްލަކީ ސަރުކާރުގެ ސައިޒު ކުޑަކުރުމެވެ.