Long-pending Food Security Bill passed by the parliament

Local Market in Male'. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Maavee)

The Food Security Bill which has been pending for years in the parliament was passed on Monday.

The bill was submitted to the parliament by Ahmed Haroon, the parliamentary representative for the Manadhoo constituency in the 19th parliamentary assembly, on behalf of the former administration in August 2021.

The Food Security Act is required to be formulated under the Maldivian Constitution which came into force in 2008. Despite being submitted years after the Constitution had come into force, the bill had remained stymied at the parliament.

Ahmed Haroon, parliamentary representative for Manadhoo constituency in the 19th parliamentary assembly captured during a sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Earlier this year, First Lady Sajidha Ahmed had also called to expedite the passage of the bill.

Ultimately, the Food Security Bill was passed at the last sitting of the 19th parliamentary assembly held on Monday with the unanimous votes of 47 lawmakers in attendance.

The bill sets out the regulations on quality assurance of food products imported to the Maldives and exported from the Maldives.

While presenting the bill, Haroon described the failure of various administrations to formulate an act mandated by the constitution, particularly one related to food security, which is integral to the health of all citizens, as severe negligence.

Import and sale of products banned under the bill include food and drinks that are harmful to health, food and drinks with misleading labels and food and drinks that have been banned by the constitution.

As per the bill, individuals found in violation of these bans can be subject to a fine between MVR 10,000 and MVR 300,000 based on severity of the act.