Maldives Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage has come under scrutiny following information revealed about the number of political appointees in the department. According to information obtained by the Maldives Journal through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Heritage Ministry has 31 political employees, including the minister, which is one of the largest numbers in the country.
The political employees include five advisors, one Ministers of State, four Deputy Ministers, 17 Senior Executive Directors, one Director, and two Research Analysts. The salaries of these political appointees amount to MVR 809,900 per month and a whopping MVR 9.7 million per annum.
However, the number of political appointees is not limited to the Heritage Ministry alone. According to reports, the number of political appointees in the government has reached close to 2,000, which is the highest number in the country's history. This revelation comes at a time when the finance ministry has issued a circular asking departments to cut costs due to the deteriorating financial situation in the country.
The recent appointment of Abdul Rashid Hussain as an advisor to the Heritage Ministry has raised concerns about the government's tendency to appoint politically connected individuals to key positions. Abdul Rashid Hussain was appointed on April 5, 2023, as an advisor to the ministry. It is worth noting that Minister Yumna Maumoon's uncle, Abbas Ibrahim, is also an advisor in the ministry and receives an annual salary of MVR 240,000.
While political appointments are not uncommon in many countries, the excessive number of appointees in the Maldives government raises concerns about the government's ability to manage its finances effectively. This is especially true in light of the current economic situation, where the government is facing significant financial challenges.