Saturday 1st Apr 2023
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Government expenditure

Maldives Government Spent Nearly MVR 1 Million on President's Trip to FIFA World Cup in Qatar

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, First Lady Fazna Ahmed, and other senior government officials spent MVR 997,743 to travel to Qatar to watch the FIFA World Cup semi-final match held in November and December last year, according to information disclosed by the President's Office. The cost of the trip was borne by the Government of Maldives.
The breakdown of expenses provided by the President's Office includes MVR 150,822 for pocket money, MVR 76,950 for incidental costs, MVR 414,555.70 for stay and dinner expenses, and MVR 355,415.58 for ticket expenses.
The President's Office also claimed that President Solih visited Qatar at the invitation of the country's emir, and that other expenses other than tickets would be borne by the Qatari government. However, the information released by the President's Office contradicts this claim.

The cost of the trip was revealed in response to a request made under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by The Maldives Journal. The revelation has raised questions about the government's spending on such trips, especially given that the President's Office has allocated MVR 4 million for the visit.

President Ibrahim has traveled around the world since assuming office, and the only two continents he has not visited while in office are South America and Australia. In an earlier interview, he expressed his fondness for traveling.

Last year, the President spent over MVR 3 million on a trip to the United Kingdom to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. The government's spending on such trips has been criticized by some, who argue that the money could be better spent on improving public services and infrastructure.