Skip to main content

Maldives: Mohamed Shihab to lead Maldives on the road to financial ruin

Male', Maldives.
President Nasheed yesterday appointed Mohamed Shihab, ex-Home Minister, as his new Finance Minister. Mohamed Shihab hails from the powerful Shihab clan which supported Nasheed in his bid for the presidency 2008.


Shihab's appointment within a week of the resignation of Ahmed Inaz as Finance Minister. Inaz's resignation came in a turmoil of allegations and attacks against him by MDp leaders and thugs. The day before he resigned, Minister Inaz had been dragged out of car (in which he was meeting opposition MP Abdulla Yaameen) and manhandled into the MDP meeting hall by MDP thugs. The thugs were reportedly led by MDP Vice President Alhan Fahmy. Eye witnesses report that during the whole episode, MDP addressed Ministry Inaz in the foulest language, with aspersions cast on his honor and that of his mother.

However, after tendering his resignation, Minister Inaz noted that he had made his decision to resign prior to the event. Speculation is rife that Inaz's resignation was due to a conflict of opinion between him and President Nasheed with respect to the financial management of the treasury. This speculation is given some credence by the fact that, the State Minister for Finance and Treasury Ahmed Naseer also resigned simultaneously.

Nasheed's appointment of Mohamed Shihab, a man with no financial background, as Finance Minister has raised alarm amongst the business sector and some segments of the populace. Although the appointment can only be validated by approval from the Parliament (Majlis), Shihab will have all the powers of the Minister of Finance until rejected (or approved) by the Parliament in March when it returns from recess.

Mohamed Shihab was rejected by the Parliament in November 2010 for the post of Home Minister. Upon his rejection, Nasheed then appointed him as Political Advisor at the President's Office. Shihab, a leading member of MDP initially, joined Gasim Ibrahim in Jumhooree Party in 2008. He then abandoned Jumhooree Party in December 2008 to rejoin MDP, upon being offered the post of Home Minister to replace Gasim Ibrahim. Gasim Ibrahim resigned as Home Minister citing irrevocable differences between him and alliance partner Nasheed.

Mohamed Shihab also served in various senior positions in the previous administration. He was removed from his most powerful post, head of the Department of External Resources, by Gayoom amidst reports of corruption and bribery in the award and implementation of various foreign funded projects and contracts, notably Japan funded projects. Gayoom however, like Nasheed, needed to keep the Shihab clan close to his administration. As a result Shihab was presented with the post of Managing Director of Maldives Post Limited. Further reports of bribery and corruption by Shihab while in this post, prompted the government to sack him in March 2006. Upon his sacking, Shihab began a vocal opposition to Gayoom in parliament and later joined MDP in opposition.

Shihab, with a tainted history of corruption and bribery, will have a tough time replacing Inaz, a respected career economist. Minister Inaz completed his Degree in Economics at National University of Singapore. He finished his Masters in University of Westminster. Inaz held the post of Director General of Trade Ministry in the Gayoom administration, in charge of trade policy coordination. He was promoted to Minister of State for Economic Development by Nasheed, and then later (April 2010) sworn in as the Minister of Finance and Treasury. He is also the founding member of Transparency Maldives ( Chapter of Transparency International). He is also a visiting lecturer of economics at local colleges for graduate and undergraduate students since 2005.

Mismanaged under Nasheed's first Finance Minister, Ali Hashim, the country's ballooning debt and financial crisis was brought under some control by Ahmed Inaz through tight budgetary control in 2011. In a time of high inflation and economic recession, and with an inflationary budget predicted to bring the country to financial ruin by mid 2012, it will be interesting to observe Mohamed Shihab's performance as Finance Minister.

Popular posts from this blog

The Quality of Political Appointees in the Nasheed Administration

As almost seven months pass since President Mohamed Nasheed took power in the Maldives, Maldivian citizens despair of ever seeing the much promised improvements in their livelihoods. The state treasury has been exhausted within this brief period, and the economy has declined to an extent worse than the aftermath of the 2004 Asian Tsunami. Escalating price of consumer goods, collapse of social services, increasing food insecurity and declining real income have thrown more people below the poverty line. While President Nasheed is engrossed in his hate and persecution campaign against political opponents, his government has ground to a halt.

The Nasheed administration came into power promising reduced expenditures, increased government revenue and a clamp down on corruption in top government circles. President Nasheed’s first budget (2009) has a 7 billion deficit (nearly 5 billion more than the previous administration’s last budget, and government revenue has fallen by more than 28% since…

#Maldives: 24 years after Nov 3 massacre: Are the terrorists back masquerading as a political party? Part 1

#Maldives: November 3rd, 2012 marks the 24th anniversary of the bloody massacre that left the blackest of stains on Maldivian hearts and history. Nineteen innocent Maldivians were slaughtered and several injured. Hundreds were held at gunpoint for hours, many later taken away as hostages. Immense damage was given to public and private property. Maldives was rescued by troops sent by Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi. The leader of the failed coup was a man called Sikka Ahmed Ismail Maniku, a man who had previous convictions for coup attempts against previous governments. The coup leader's nephew, Mohamed Nasheed, was installed as President in 2008, at the head of a political party whose top leadership comprised of family members and others involved in the 1988 November 3 massacre.

Nasheed's cabinet, senior political advisors and state ministers included terrorists convicted for their involvement in the November 3 massacre. As Nasheed denounces the current government of Dr. Mohamed W…

Nepotism rampant in Maldives President Nasheed’s Government

The 6 month old government of Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed is at present struggling with economic, social and political woes mainly of its own making. Insiders blame President Nasheed’s heavy handed control of his top heavy political administration for the mismanagement of the budget, impractical whole sale changes to the administrative structure, collapse of social and welfare services and the failing economy.

The high profile faces of Nasheed’s top political appointees show a dominance of close relatives, interspersed with failed politicians and front line radicals from his party Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). MDP sources report that this dominance of close relatives of President Nasheed, Vice President Dr Waheed and party Chairman Mariya Didi is at the root of emerging deep cracks in the MDP’s general membership. In addition to its inexperience, another factor contributing to Nasheed’s government’s continual mistakes and failures is apparently the lack of cohesion and coope…