Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cause and effect

These are days, people say almost anything publicly, and try to convince people their point of view. These are days, people try to establish links or correlations between two or three things, and come up with their own set of theories. These are days some of us try to explain to the public, the reasons for the recent economic instability and the dollar crisis. These are days, people to try to talk about the causes of the increased crimes in our country. These are days people are very confused on the future direction of our country.

It is a dangerous thing, to talk about causes and effect of something, if we do not have the proper information or facts about the subject. For example; what could be the reason for the increase in crimes? We are hearing of killings, stabbings, theft, gang fights, and recently increased infanticide? Is it related to increased illegal drugs? Is it something to do with our education system? Is it because of the housing problems in Male’? Is it because of lack of proper entertainment? It is because of lack of religious faith? There could be all sorts of explanations. But, a proper study would be required before we come up with conclusions on the real cause of these issues. Without such studies and facts, it would be improper for anybody to explain about the problems in order to promote somebody’s agenda.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Performance audits

Since the start of reforms in the political structure of our county, we have been increasing and increasing the total costs of our state. First we established a human rights commission, and appointed five members, and approved huge salaries to them. Then we established an anti-corruption commission, again with five members. Then, a Supreme Court. This time with
Judges with salaries exceeding Rf50,000 per month. Along came a judicial service commission, a police integrity commission, a civil service commission, an elections commission, a media council, and a broadcasting commission. To make things worse, recently we have formed atoll councils and island councils.

Having all these independent institutions is one thing, but having five members with salaries exceeding Rf40,000? And then, the Constitution allows for appointment of political appointees, again with huge salaries. With decentralisation, islands managed by one island chief, has suddenly become an island with at least 5 councellors, earning at least Rf15,000. We also have atoll councellors (again more than 5 in each atoll), earning about Rf25,000.

We spent more than Rf15 million on the human rights commission last year, a Rf17 million on the anti-corruption commission, a Rf11 million on the judicial service commission, and a Rf95 million on the parliament. Has anybody asked about the performance and the output of all these institutions? If we are spending so much from the state budget on all these institutions, and by doing so sacrificing a lot of other services to people, like education and health, then at least we should conduct a performance audit of all these state institutions. Then only we can justify allocation of huge budgets, and paying huge salaries to all the members of these commissions.

Likewise, performance audits of individual ministries and departments are also needed, so that ministers and other political staffs' performance can also be assessed. Unless we can justify all these spending (especially since we are spending at a deficit), there is no point in continuing such spending. If such a performance audit reveals lack of output from the institutions and people, it would be enough reason for us to amend the laws in such a way to reduce the number of 'unwanted' members and staff in all such institutions. It would be a reason for us to review the existing salaries, and harmonize the salaries nation-wide.