Maldives finance minister resigns

July 11, 2008 (LBO) – The finance minister of Maldives has resigned amid speculation that he may launch his own presidential bid through a different party, media reports from the archipelago said. The Minivannews.com, a web based news service, said finance minister Gasim Ibrahim had given his resignation to president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, but the president has not yet responded.

Minivannews quoted Gasim as saying that he did not want to be blamed for an un-financed budget deficit, but also did not commit himself on whether he was leaving Gayoom’s ruling Dhivehi Raiyyithunge Party (DRP).

The announcement had come a day after the atoll nation’s auditor general and the financial committee of the parliament had said the 2008 budget faces a deficit of 4.4 billion rufiyaa (342 million dollars), and said it had accounting irregularities.

The government had also been expecting windfall revenues from the sale of tourism resort concessions to small islands, which was in doubt.

Maldives is a prime tourism destination and its government uses one-off resort sales and revenue on room rates to fill the public purse. But a large sale of new concessions planned for this year has been seen as im