Hon. Mohamed Nashiz MP at the CAPAC Asia Workshop in Malaysia, 2019
Since March 2021, the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees (CAPAC) has a new Vice-Chair. Hon. Mohamed Nashiz MP is a member of the Parliament of Maldives and the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). In this article he introduces himself and why CAPAC membership is valuable to the Maldives.
The Maldives first joined the Commonwealth 39 years ago. After briefly leaving in 2016, the Maldives re-joined the Commonwealth on 1 February 2020 against the backdrop of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Since re-joining the Commonwealth, the Maldives has been an active member of the CPA network and has worked closely with CPA UK following our attendance at the Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees (CAPAC) Regional Workshop in Kuala Lumpur in August 2019.
“As both a participant and panellist at various CPA UK workshops, I experienced the value of these strong inter-parliamentary PAC relationships. In March 2021, the Maldives became a member of CAPAC and I put myself forward on behalf of the Maldives PAC to join the Executive Committee as the Vice-Chair.”
- Hon. Mohamed Nashiz MP, Maldives
The Maldives is keen to learn and share with other Commonwealth parliaments on topics of common interest. For example, the Maldives Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recently shared its challenges and approach to advancing consensual decision-making and strengthening parliamentary oversight which was published as a case study in a CPA UK report on how PACs have maintained financial scrutiny during Covid-19. Despite considerable variations in how PACs work across the Commonwealth, the principle behind PACs and equivalent committees is the same: to scrutinise government expenditure of taxpayer’s money, ensuring transparency, accountability and value for money.
While many parliaments have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the effect on PACs has varied.
"...In the Maldives we were able to quickly set up online committee meetings and later transition back to face-to-face meetings in Parliament.
However, we found that the challenges during the pandemic were new and varied. With the Government undertaking increased procurement of services and contracts to meet the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic, the PAC was under increasing public pressure to oversee and scrutinise the process and procedures followed. Alongside this, an additional challenge emerged as the Maldivian economy is largely dependent on tourism related activities. As a PAC, our immediate priorities were two-fold:
To oversee and scrutinise the Government’s expenditure related to Covid-19 services and contracts;
To assess and hold the Government to account on its strategies and plans for mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on Maldives’ economy.
As the global pandemic spread across the world, it became clear that there were important lessons to be shared and learnt across the Commonwealth. How were other PACs facing the dual challenge of both scrutinising major increases in Government spending on Covid-19 and ensuring that scrutiny on non-Covid-19 related issues continued to be prioritised?
As both a participant and panellist at various CPA UK workshops, I experienced the value of these strong inter-parliamentary PAC relationships. In March 2021, the Maldives became a member of CAPAC and I put myself forward on behalf of the Maldives PAC to join the Executive Committee as the Vice-Chair.
Since joining the CAPAC Executive Committee, I have collaborated with members and clerks across the Commonwealth to share knowledge, experiences, and best practices among PACs. Frequent engagement with fellow CAPAC members is important to promote strong and independent parliamentary oversight based on mutual learning.
I look forward to learning and improving scrutiny of value for money, efficiency, and effectiveness in public spending in the Maldives through cross border collaboration."
Find out more about CAPAC here.