The Maldives is a democratic republic and has recently launched its local government system. It has two spheres of government: national and local. Local government is provided for in Chapter VIII of the constitution and the main legislative texts are the Decentralisation Act 2010 and the Local Council Election Act 2010. The Local Government Authority Department within the Ministry of Home Affairs has responsibility for local government, which has two tiers: island councils and city councils, all of which are accountable to an atoll council. There are 20 atoll councils, two city councils (Malé and Addu) and 66 island councils. The councils have the power to charge fees or rents for the services they provide and can seek loans as well as create financial instruments such as bonds, bills and securities to fund development activities. Every year the councils are allocated funds from the state reserves for office administration, provision of services and development projects, and revenue generated from state facilities within a council jurisdiction is allocated to that council. Atoll councils must establish and maintain a registration of islands and their lands, assist island councils in seeking technical and financial assistance; and administer and implement any projects in the atoll development plan that have not been assigned to a particular island council. City and island councils’ responsibilities include providing roads, waste disposal, pest control, water, electricity and sewage systems; primary healthcare and pre-school education; and educational and vocational programmes for adults.
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