Sunday, February 21, 2010

Islam: A costly affair in the Maldives

Islamic Affairs Ministry has a budget of Rf 211million – that’s twice as much as we are spending on tourism, information and arts and a whopping 14 times more than what we are spending on economic development!

How on earth is the Islamic Ministry spending all the money? Rf 160million on recurrent expenditures and 51million on capital expenditure, says the Ministry’s budget.

The Public Sector Investment Programme for 2010 shows Government plans spend Rf50million to build mosques in some 36 different locations in the country. Here’s an example of some islands that are going to get brand new mosques in 2010.

The 700 odd residents of Dh. Badidhoo are getting a mosque at a cost of Rf1.2million.

R. Fainu, home to some 300 odd people are getting a mosque valued at Rf1.7million.

R. Dhuvaafaru, home to around 2000 people is getting 2 mosques – one that costs Rf0.58million and another at Rf 4.4 million.

Who prays in these mosques? Men, to be more precise, men too old to travel to resorts or Male for work. How about women? They pray at home.

Now, the question of cost. I know how easily I could be labelled as ‘an atheist, gay, Jewish, Christian missionary’ for saying this. But lets think about the Fainu mosque case: building a mosque at a cost of Rf1.7 million in Fainu is like giving Rf30,000 to every adult male in the island to pray. It simply defies all my logic. I simply cannot understand the rationale of our policy makers to ‘invest’ Rf 50million of mostly borrowed money to build fancy mosques in small island communities the harsh demographic and geographical realities of which often compel its residents to travel to a neighbouring island for the even most common tablet of painkillers.

I’ve always been told Prophet's mosque in Madinah was constructed entirely from date palm – palm tree trunk pillars and palm fronds roof, no minaret and no dome. Islam, as I have understood all my life, is all for virtues like modesty and simplicity.

This got me seriously baffled. Utterly confused. Confused as to the need of a small island community that defecate into holes dug, as-and-when-nature-calls, on public beaches and ‘four-gear’ latrines to pray in a mosque that has a shining dome, a tall minaret and intricate wood carvings of Quranic verses on the walls. It looks like Islam indeed is an expensive affair in this country.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the statistics you've mentioned are true I feel that just as you've mentioned its something for the policy makers of this country to think about. Also if my knowledge is correct, the Islamic Affairs Ministry do get a lot of money from Zakat, which is spent on welfare and mosque building and some other stuff. So I wonder if the source of the whole ministry's budget is entirely from the Gov?
On another note, since these days its mostly about bashing and ridiculing Islam and its followers in the Maldives on MVBlogosphere, the nature of the article will give another opportunity for those who love to hate Islam to brand Islam as bad, irrelevant ..etc. I agree that you've pointed out a worthy issue. But your language, at least a little bit, does say that you don't like the Islamic Ministry and/or the work done by the ministry. Sort of a strong disliking towards Islam the religion itself, perhaps?

ali said...

i m an avid reader of political blogs. both local and international. I glad to say your blog is informative and very well written and a pleasure to read. and the issues you raise are extremely important for us to think about. thank you.

Yaamyn said...

@Anonymous

Your comment is precisely the kind of thing liberals in our country are worried about.

This article was quite well-written, simple, subtle and to the point.

It in no way disparaged anybody in any way, and yet you felt the need to raise doubts about its intention and language. You felt the need to get defensive about something (Islam? the ministry?) for no reason.

That paranoid, defensive and unthinking, uncritical mentality is precisely what some of us think is behind growing intolerance in our country.

Just letting you know.

Anonymous said...

Coming from yaamyn this is understandable. He is one of the most notorious Islam bashers on mv blogosphere.

People like the author of this blog is now joining the Islam bashing bandwagen following the example set by Simon and yaamyn. They think it is 'cool' to do that. they think being liberal is attacking islam. mv blogosphere is these days all about bashing anything that is islamic. Even in this articile it is clear that the author is ridiculing Islam. How ever much you guys ridicule Islam God will protect his religion. You are enemies of God.

Yaamyn said...

Anonymous:

Get out of your victim mindset, to begin with. Not everybody is out to bash you or your religion.

Furthermore, I challenge you to point out ONE sentence in this entire post that 'ridicules' Islam.

There isn't.

It's just your old, worn-out 'Islam under attack!' paranoia fed to you by the mullahs at work here.

Relax. Islam is safe.

U said...

Thanks for this informative post. These days, it is rare to see a post that sheds light on the real governance issues that we face, setting aside emotions. By reading this post, for some it may have flared up some emotions, but that shouldn't stop us from questioning the current and future direction of our public spending.

All government agencies, regardless of their mandate, should be scrutinized and made accountable for public spending. We shouldn’t hesitate to question a department, just because their mandate happens to fall on the sensitive subject of religion. The post rightly questions the government's resource allocation strategies in promoting religious unity in our country. It has NOTHING to do with Islam. It is a legitimate question over good public spending.

Is our public spending on Islamic affairs disproportionately allocated given our dire economic situation?

Are the ministry's present projects justifiable and economically viable?

Are the ministry’s investments in line with our population consolidation objectives?

Is the ministry making sure that we get a good return on our investment to ensure religious harmony in the country?

Stewie said...

very informative and as usual to the point post.time to clean up!

Anonymous said...

Yaamyn,

I'm guessing you've close relations with the author. Or you've put up your defenses to save him because of what you believe. I did that for the same reason as you have in my comment. To save what I believe. And if that supposedly makes me paranoid and of a uncritical mentality, making my words one of the reasons behind the intolerance in our country, as what some of you 'liberals' like to think, then, we are fighting for the same cause. Only that we are on different sides.

Have a good day.

Yaamyn said...

@Anonymous:

Once again, you're wrong. I do not know the author of this blog in any way. Never corresponded, never met.

Notice also, that I have in no way 'put up defenses'.

I am the one challenging you here to point out ONE sentence in this post that 'ridicules' Islam.

I already know you cannot. My intention is just to point out to yourself that as long as you have this victim mentality, you'll always see a conspiracy dimension that simply doesn't exist.

This is what keeps you from thinking critically. In other words, that's what lets anybody (ANYBODY!) take advantage of unthinking people in the name of religion.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Naimbe, Anonymous 8:25 is the worst kind of scum in Maldives.

The kind of "well-meaning" people with "good intentions" who, while making you feel as if you are being appreciated, is actually being a bully. He's just intimidating you with his "friendly warning." Never mind these psychotic delinquents who are joining the Wahhabi movement.

Go ahead, freely express your views. Don't be intimidated 'cos that's exactly what these lunatics who belong in Guriadhoo mental asylum want you to do: go silent. T

This is not Saudi Arabia. It will never be another Saudi Arabia.

One day I'm going to become the Supreme Dictator and gas out these Taliban-wannabe rats from whichever makeshift mosque they are hiding in.

Anonymous said...

now that you've mentioned about the nature calls, i just wanted to point out that in some islands these beautil mosques are being used as public toilets.. and they keep it locked most of the time:)

maldivesresortworkers said...

the problem is in our construction industry its not that the govt wants to give away vast somes of money for ppl to worship. you are correct that prophet muhammad pbuh and the sahabaa loved simplicity. we in maldives also love simplicity. but the problem is our construction industry is based such that even a simple structure if constructed to habitable standards will cost millions. all the millions goes to big constructors who give away pieces of slices to sub contractors who give some more to sub-sub contractors etc till the person doing the actual job rarely recieves anything at all or pitiful sums for works rendered.

so its all down to construction realities here not with islam.

Anonymous said...

yaamyn,

u expect us to believe u when u say that u dont know the author of this blog? what a joke.

I just checked how this post appeared on mvblogs. it took FK hilath jsut minutes to post a link to this post on his blog. Then someone posted a comment criticizing the author. Yaamyn jumps to his rescue in no time. All these things happened so quickly. Is this all a coincidence? You guys have a web of people attacking our beliefs. you guys are out to recruit people. It looks like the most recent convert is the author of this blog Naimbe.

naimbé said...

@anon 8:25
The statistics are all there for everyone to see. I got the numbers from MoFT’s budget 2010 tables.
I’m sorry but I think you’ve missed my point. For me this is purely a question of public finance, governance and resource allocation.

@ali
Thanks. It’s the encouragement I got from people like you that got me back to blogosphere after a long time. :-)

@yaamyn
I know it would be virtually pointless for me to say that I don’t know you. Some people have already ‘figured out’ that you, ‘FK Hilath’ and I are all in a web that’s out to ‘attack’ their ‘beliefs’. Anyway thanks a lot for coming to my ‘rescue in no time’.

@ U
Thanks. You’ve beautifully summed up my real issue. It’s all about public finance, governance and resource allocation. But the problem with so many of us as Yaamyn has pointed out is that we fail to think about the kind of critical questions that you’ve raised here.

@ Stewie
Thanks. But clean up what? ;-)

@anon 4:00
:-)

@maldivesresortworkers
I’m not too sure if it’s entirely to do with the nature of our construction industry. You have a very good point about where the money is going. If the money could somehow be spent in such a way that a larger fraction of it would trickle down to the people in the islands instead of large construction companies in Male it would perhaps provide some justification to the business of constructing these expensive mosques.

Stewie said...

time to clean up the mess that we are in. from public financing to irrational decisions and judgements that affect public.

Anonymous said...

Let the Muslims donate and take care of their business.
Religion and religious spending should have no place in government

Anonymous said...

it is islam that hinders Maldives from progressing and getting civilized.

Anonymous said...

most of the money will go to a small number of people, none of which will be a person of that island. the construction workers barely get anything and none of them are maldivian and are treated like slaves. what benefit do we get by building million dollar mosques? who would think god cares whether you pray in a million dollar mosque? this is not for religious purposes, this is greed.This kind of spending is immoral.where is the money coming from anyway?

moyameehaa said...

interesting facts. the truth is they have to please the people,have to prove their love for islam. mohamed said..taqwa is here...and pointed to his chest they say...but we can always point to huge mosques and infidels killed.

invest in economic activities that will benefit us? work for this world? subhanallah. balt'ssirunal hayata dunya, wal akhirat khairun wa abgha! nay, wed rather suffer here and go to heaven...than actually work for development.

but there might be something else to this. doesnt this have anything to do with tsunami and disaster management? something to do with strong, safe buildings with loudspeakers?

Yaamyn said...

"yaamyn,

u expect us to believe u when u say that u dont know the author of this blog? what a joke.

I just checked how this post appeared on mvblogs. it took FK hilath jsut minutes to post a link to this post on his blog. Then someone posted a comment criticizing the author.

Yaamyn jumps to his rescue in no time. All these things happened so quickly. Is this all a coincidence? You guys have a web of people attacking our beliefs. you guys are out to recruit people. It looks like the most recent convert is the author of this blog Naimbe.



Just how predictable can you get?

I am calling you out, again. Point me to this 'ridicule' of Islam in this post?

You made a hyperbole filled allegation. I'm just asking you to point it out.

But you couldn't.

It would have been as simple as 'HERE's the part where he ridicules Islam - > XYZ'

But let's face it. There wasn't any, was there?

Instead, in that time, you have come up with yet another conspiracy theory - this time involving a 'web' of secretly connected bloggers trying to take away your religion (except, you still cannot point out how).

You're like a parody of yourself.

Thank you for your time.

Anonymous said...

the heading itself is ridiculing islam. whats the point of having a heading such as 'islam: a costly affair in the Maldives". what is it implying? the heading is used to grab attention and to mock islam. period.

Anonymous said...

naimbe. this is funny. some people got really angry with hilath because of u. this is a comment on hilath's link to this post.

"hillath! kaley dhen firihen kulhi kulhe meehunnaa moshey roadha nuhifaa, dhen keekey bunaany kale ah mihaaru nukurevi onnaanee emme faafa ei, eiy (Eid dhuvahu roadha hurun) eves hus gohoraa hunnan jehethy… dhen thanei ga meehaku komme gothakah ulhunas, adhi sarukaarun miskiy thakei komme fenvareiga binaa kuriyas thilhai ah keey rundiyaa? fadaboegen nuthelhi amilla ah maruvebala. earun thiluchchaage nohoroppanei dhen noannaanethaa…"

Anonymous said...

Naibe,

Anon 8:25 here. I don't disagree on your article. Latter half of my comment, I was only expressing my view on how many bloggers are expressing their disregard for Islam. I never mentioned or even hinted that you are one of them. I only mentioned that what you've written will give the opportunity for those Islam haters to bash the religion and its followers again. Which is something that some people think is fun while people like us, who take Islam to the heart, is disturbing. And I was right, wasn't I? I believe what I've pointed out in my comment is relevant to your article but somehow you've missed my point after reading the latter part.

Anon 3:25 AM,

Where was I intimidating Naimbe? And who am I to intimidate anyone? I think who is feeling inferior to what we stand for is you. And just to let you know, I'm not typical of this so called 'wahhabi' with beards and pantaloons. I wear western attire, trimmed beard and I watch cable TV just like most Maldivians do. The difference is I am Muslim. I stand for something. I firmly believe in what I do. And you can dream on to gas us out of this country. This is an Islamic state call it a democracy or whatever. Don't think that just because we believe in Islam it takes us backwards. We are living in the same world. Don't think that you know something we don't.

Yaamyn,

Anon 5:04 wasn't me. But yeah what difference does it make. We are all brainwashed, right. Its always fun to quarrel with you. Keep 'em coming.

Cheers

The Shadowrunner said...

According to them, praying can cure everything from the common cold to an HIV infection.

Heck, they even tell us it can change the weather, avert tsunamis (and serve as a robust bunker in case the prayer got lost on the way to Allah's internet)

This is why they are diverting such funds to make cathedralesque mosques.

hilaths gay friend said...

@ MaldivesResortWorkers

I agree with Anonymous 8:34 AM. Most contractors are slave organizations disguised as construction companies which are actually running human trafficking, in complicity with government, private companies, high commissions, foreign ministries, or whatever other authorities that need to keep this (global?) Capitalist-Religious economic system in place.

If we Maldivians are as pious as we claim, why don't these rich contractors make an exception when it comes to building mosques and give a Huge Discount in the Cause of Allah?

Or is "Fee Sabeelillaahi" just a concept which can be used or ignored when and as it serves their bastardized priorities and conveniences?

Are they waiting to give away all their money to charities only when they are struck by a terminal disease and death is imminent? Or when they reach 70 years of age and realize their life span is almost over?

As Yaamyn said, if there is a web conspiracy, it's the one that is involved by these Wahhabis.

Having nothing else to do but read Quran and other suspect 'holy Hadith' books, all these Wahhabi kids spend almost all their time monitoring blogs and websites and facebook and twitter accounts run by any Maldivians (anonymous or not) who dare to express their challenging, alternate views on cyberspace.

These repressed Wahhabi kids set up multiple blogs and websites, all anonymous of course, to give a false image that they have a whole 'Wahhabi Brigade' behind them, though they accuse Simon and Hilath of running “multiple anonymous blogs.” As I know people like Simon and Hilath and Yaamyn are too busy with more important priorities unlike these low-life Haabees.

If there is a whole Wahhabi brigade out there as MDP is falsely led to believe, why didn't Adhaalath win a single Parliamentary vote? Why did the 'clean' 'uncorrupt' Sheikh Ilyas himself fail to win a seat? Or are those seats at his sermons filled by kids who are pressured to go there by their Wahhabi parents in order to show there is a 'Wahhabi Brigade'?

I guess when they are paid by their Arab masters in petrodollars, they are required to do all these sorts of dirty jobs for them. Anonymous 8:25 PM seems to be doing a good job because that is exactly what he is required to do as long as he accepts the paychecks he receives signed by his Arab cultural masters.

These sort of repressed Anonymous cowards should learn a tip or two from one of my male neighbors who is forced to represent himself as a Haabee due to family pressure. He loves football and movies but his parents say that 'wasting time in unuseful things' is haraam and will incur the wrath of God. So what he does is keep a separate hard disk hidden with movies and what else only God knows. I have much sympathy for him. When entertainment and creativity are killed, what else is there for a human to do? Life’s little pleasures taken away from them……..

What these anonymous Haabee bloggers don’t know is that they will never be a majority. Maldivians, used to a laid-back island culture, will never give up the little simple pleasures of life like football, CableTV, internet, music, movies, literature, etc.

By trying to stifle people’s creativity and entertainment, the Haabees are actually creating hatred towards Islam. If there are enemies of Islam in Maldives, they are these people who are directly and indirectly creating hatred towards a religion followed by many peaceful humans. The Wahhabi’s resort to use of intolerance and hatred is unprecedented.

Hilath once said to me: “Why do these Haabees always have a scowl on their face? Aren’t they supposed to have an open, inviting friendly face in order to attract new ‘converts’? Isn’t that the tactic Christian missionaries use?”

I agree. The Habees look downright ugly. They would have in fact looked handsome if they cared to take off that scowl……… What are they pissed about anyway, since they have God on their side?

Anonymous said...

@Anon 8:42...

There is something seriously wrong if you genuinely think that your moderate brand of Islam is not being hijacked by fanaticism.

A type of fanaticism that ultimately threatens and aims to replace our moderate beliefs.

If at all anyone should ‘bash’ fanatic Islam it should be the moderates who sit 'watching cable TV', in their 'western attire', with 'trimmed beards' in the illusion that extremism and irrationality amongst them is no threat to them.

… or and what was the point of the blog?

cheers (with raised glass)

Anonymous said...

Excellent that this is being brought to the attention of the public. The fancy 5 star mosques, gold plated, wood gilded is unislamic and symbols of power and priesthood in Islam which is prohibited.

Anonymous said...

Cathedralesque... your'e right Shadowrunner. It irks me the most when I see a big, huge super-decorated mosque right next to a hirigaa made house...

PS: Welcome back!!! Gonna stalk you now. ^___^

Anonymous said...

my reading of the post highlighted another important issue that the government must consider; the ill-fated "effas kurun". if our populations were more concentrated then there will be no need for costly construction for small populations!

vakaray said...

its important think whether investment is worth rather than building million RF mosques. what if these 300 or 700 people get change another island.

"praise ur article...you looked into matter different perspective."

Self righteous dudes dont blast this place.

naimbé said...

@anon 8:25/3:25
Thanks. I’m sorry if you got the impression that I was giving ammunition to bloggers who as you say are expressing disregard for Islam. I have no intention whatsoever of offending anyone. The issue, as I’ve already said earlier isn’t about Islam. I see this as a question of public finance and resource allocation.
BTW It would make things a lot less complicated for me and others who are commenting here if you guys would just come out of your anonymity. :-)

@anon 8:42
I don’t think anyone could intimidate me with a comment on my blog. I am just average man on the street writing about his thoughts on a blog. There is just no need for anyone to get worked up over anything. But I do understand very well how some people in Maldives could be tempted to overact the moment religion is mentioned. I also understand very well that if I had reacted to any of the filth and criticisms the anons have thrown at me it would have really embroiled me in a situation I’d find really difficult to extricate myself from. No hard feelings, brother. Salam.

@ Shadowrunner
“cathedralesque mosques”…interesting term.

@ hilaths gay friend
Yes, it would solve the problem if the contractors could, as you’ve suggested, give “ a Huge Discount in the Cause of Allah”.
As for the concept of "Fee Sabeelillaahi" I think a lot of our rich guys are already practicing it. Sonee, Athama, Gasim and several others have built mosques ‘fee sabeelillahi’. :-)

@anon 4:23
I agree with you. From an aesthetic point of view super-decorated mosques just aren’t the thing for our islands.

@anon 5:00
Yes, that’s in fact the most critical issue. For as long as we have 142 islands with populations of less than a thousand people there’s just no end to this. People of Fainu just like the other 190 odd inhabited islands would want to have an Islaamee-marukazu type mosque, court, rashuoffice, hospitals and of course even a university at some stage. That’s what is so innately wrong about the whole developmental model. Now we are all talking about transport network and linking up. A lot of people in Male aren’t ready to go and live in Hulhumale simple because of the 20 minutes of commuting. So, there’s no need to sex up things using little understood, abstract concepts. It’s just not going to work.

hameed said...

The cost of building a housing unit in the islands was upto Mrf 570,000 in 2006. A mosque catering for even 100 people has to be much bigger than a housing unit. Furthermore the cost of construction material has gone up significantly since 2006. So it is very obvious that a mosque that is planned to be built from 1.2 million will not be a fancy structure. Hence in my opinion your allegation about the planned mosques being fancy is ill-informed.

Furthermore, the cost of the current infrastructure at R.Dhuvaafaru is around Rf 345 million. The cost of the two mosques proposed for Dhuvaafaru is just 1% of the total cost of current infrastructure.

The real issue in my opinion is the population of the country being scattered across 200 odd islands which makes providing any infrastructure extremely costly. So what needs to be done is to consolidate the population into fewer islands. In the mean time, whether this is achieved or not, no one should be denied access to basic facilities no matter how big or small his/her island population is.

A harbour was constructed for the 500 odd people in Alif Dhaal Dhigurah at a cost of Rf 20.7 million in 2006. That is Rf 41,100 per person. So one could argue that this expenditure was a waste and the government should have just expected the people of Dhigurah to get wet in the sea every time they get on or off the island. Or one could take the view that harbours like schools, health centres etc are basic facilities that everyone has to have access to.

So is a mosque to pray in a basic facility that every Maldivian should have access to no matter how big or small his/her island population is. I believe most Maldivians would say yes.

Bodu Kanneli said...

Hameed,

building Dhuvaafaru at a cost of Rf 345 million is just obscene. this is like burning money.

building a harbour in Alif Dhaal Dhigurah at a cost of Rf 20.7 million is another catastrophe.

we are going on doing things like this. this is so bloody wrong. This thing has got to STOP. thats the whole point of the discussion. not just building mosques.

hameed said...

Bodu Kanneli, could you enlighten me on why building a harbour in an island is a catastrophe.

Particularly could you let me know why the Rf 345 million spent in Dhuvaafaru was just money burnt given that it was fully funded by IFRC and given that it was spent on schools, housing and other basic facilities.

U said...

Hameed,

Interesting counter argument… You agree that population consolidation is the right policy given our scattered population, yet you think it is only right that whether it is “achieved or not”, citizens should be provided “basic facilities” regardless of population size of an island. Right as it may sound, there is a problem with your line of argument.

We all know that it is not practical for us to provide “basic facilities” as short-term solutions. It has a spiraling effect that stops us from ever achieving the more viable population consolidation objectives:

We invest heavily in small communities, adding recurrent expenditure in subsequent years. The investment does not inject any significant income back into the economy. This in turn eats our national budget and makes us dependent on external loans inflating our national debt.

At best we are doing what we think is right by sustaining these communities in an unsustainable way.

At worst, we are doing what we have come to believe is politically right by investing in these communities for votes without considering long-term solutions that will help the people overcome their problems.

Isn’t this a catastrophe?

naimbé said...

@ U

very well said. "we are doing what we have come to believe is politically right by investing in these communities for votes without considering long-term solutions that will help the people overcome their problems".

thats the crux of the problem.

Sometime back I wrote a post on the Dhuvaafaru case Hameed mentioned. Have a look if you have time.

http://asknaim.blogspot.com/2008/12/lost-opportunity-for-paradigm-shift.html

hameed said...

@ U said.

You have raised two very important issues. Firstly let’s talk about the issue of fiscal sustainability. The 2010 budget contains some capital expenditure projects for small communities. The government estimates that there will be a budget surplus by the end of 2012. So I would argue that the projects in the 2010 budget are fiscally sustainable in the short term.

Lets look at the long-term. Currently we do not have a lot of revenue sources for the government. But there is a lot of potential. Maldives has the highest per capita GDP in South Asia. Measures such as implementing a tax system, reforming resort rents and attracting FDIs would generate a decent revenue flow for the government in the future. Therefore I believe that the country can afford to provide basic facilities to small island communities in a fiscally sustainable manner. By basic facilities I don’t mean university education, world class health care etc. I mean the very basic services such as primary and secondary education, access to a GP, ability to get on and off the island without getting wet in the sea, a decent mosque with the capacity to hold Friday prayers for the community etc.

You have also pointed out that providing the above facilities to small island communities is counter productive to the goal of achieving population consolidation. Denying these communities basic facilities in order to pressure the people to move to other islands is one way of achieving population consolidation. But it is not the only way. Furthermore, I believe the above strategy is inhumane and oppressive. Given that the country can afford it, every citizen of the country has to be given access to the basic facilities mentioned above. I believe in inclusive development i.e. the benefits of economic development should reach everyone.

Population consolidation is not just an economic issue. There are various complex social and demographic factors connected to the issue as well. Just to name a few:

-Island communities that had moved to other islands have often faced segregation and violence
- People lack the information and awareness to realise the benefits of population consolidation
- Moving to another island involves costs. For instance the migrants need to find accommodation and employment.

Therefore the process of population consolidation requires huge efforts in terms of educating people, providing security, creating jobs, implementing housing projects etc. All this will require time. So do we just delay providing basic facilities to small island communities until population consolidation is achieved? In my opinion doing so would be denying the people their rights and their share of development.

I believe that inclusive development and population consolidation are not contradictory policy objectives. They are complementary objectives that can be pursued together.

@ Naimbe
I do not see inclusive development as a populist ideology focussed on generating votes. I see it as a morally appealing, and practical ideology. I guess we have an ideological difference.

U said...

@ Hameed

Your points are well taken. It is agreed that inclusive development and population consolidation can be complimentary. It is realistic to think that we have good potential for long-term revenue objectives that you mention. It is also realistic to think that we can provide ‘essential facilities’ for all small communities in the long-term.

What we do in the short-term, however, seems entirely contradictory to what we believe.

We are not just providing ‘essential facilities’ to small communities but making huge ad hoc investments that drains our resources for population consolidation stripping other citizens of inclusiveness. And the revenue measures (tax, resort rent reform, more FDI, etc) will of course generate a decent revenue flow, but as you too mention – only “in the future”.

I sincerely hope that this future will come by 2012. (No pun intended)

It’s easy to sensationalise these problems by labelling such ideas as “inhumane and oppressive” or (as some others have said) attacking Islam.

But let’s be realistic, we can’t “afford” things we simply do not have yet. We hardly see any real progress aside from ad hoc announcements about getting a billion here and a billion there… and promising a thousand flats here and there for cheering crowds on each island.

It just doesn’t add up. (Talking about simple mathematics… I’m looking at new post on this blog about Maldives military spending!)

hameed said...

@ U

I agree that there had been and there still is a lot of wasteful expenditure. But my argument on inclusive development is not about any sort of extravagance, it is about providing essential facilities.

Most importantly, my concern is with the mosque construction projects included in the 2010 budget that Naimbe refers to in his post. The post claims that the projects are extravagant. In my view this is clearly not the case if you consider construction industry benchmarks. One cannot deem an expenditure as excessive just by looking at the number of zeros in the figure. The costs involved, industry benchmarks and the need for the project are all factors that need to be considered.

In my opinion most Maldivians see mosques as an essential facility. Therefore I believe that there is a need for these projects.

SS said...

Naimbe my friend, its great to see you back in action and putting that Islamic University education in economics to good use ;-)

Another theory - the 'fee sabeelillah' businessmen group try to outdo each other by building grand structures on the islands, which the govt feels the need to emulate on other islands to keep everyone happy?

Anonymous said...

yes, SS. 'fee sabeelillah' businessmen are partly to be blamed.

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