Future of Gulhifalhu in doubt as government halts project

Additional reporting by Ismail Humaam Hamed

The future of the Gulhifalhu development project appears uncertain as the government called a halt to proceedings, being said to have deemed the island unfit for habitation.

A buyer’s association – comprising seven families who made down payments on flats four years ago – now fear their investment may be lost.

“We are not big businessmen. We are simple people who gave up all our life savings because we wanted accommodation near the capital Malé,” said the association’s representative Adam Nadeem.

After paying the 30 percent – or MVR500,000 – of the cost of each flat in 2010, with a promise of a new home in 6 months, buyers were informed last week that the government had suspended further development, he explained.

Global Project Developments (GPD) have today said that the plan to build housing units was formulated upon the request of the state-owned Gulhifalhu Investments Ltd (GIL) and that all necessary permits were obtained in 2011.

“GPD believes that if there are any issues which would affect the livelihood of habitants of the island it is the responsibility of the government and GIL to address those issues,” read a press release from GPD.

GPD – a subsidiary of the UK company Capital Investment and Finance Ltd (CIFL) – went on to accuse GIL of failing to uphold its part of the agreement in registering the houses with the relevant authorities.

The project to develop the submerged reef situated between the islands of Villingili and Thilafushi – just minutes from the capital Malé – was signed in 2007 under the government of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Investment plans

Initially envisioned as an industrial project, the development was amended after the arrival of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) administration, taking on the title of the Global Green City, and focusing on housing units to ease congestion in the capital city.

CIFL, having signed a 35-year lease agreement with the state-owned GIL, then established GPD in order to continue the reclamation and development of the island.

After the completion of the first housing units last month, however, the cabinet’s Economic Council informed GIL that the island was not fit for habitation due to health and geological factors, reported local media.

The island is located just 200 yards from Thilafushi – often referred to as a ‘toxic bomb’ owing to the fumes produced as much of the nation’s waste is burned on site.

Despite this, the Environmental Protection Agency had issued approval for the construction of 240 two-bedroom flats in November 2011.

Neither GPD nor the buyers association have been provided a copy of the GIL statement. Officials from the President’s Office were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

Nadeem explained that meetings with the President’s Office and the Economic Council last December had been positive, with no sign that the future of the development was in danger.

Indeed, the Maldives’ first amusement park opened on the island the same month, with locals now visiting from the neighbouring islands every weekend. Additionally, two beach villas are available for visitors wishing to stay overnight.

Investor confidence

The disruption to the Gulhifalhu project is the latest in a series of foreign investor agreements that have faced difficulties after a change of government.

The Tatva waste management project became the latest deal signed under the MDP government to founder last month, with the government announcing that it wished to use a state-owned company to provide such services in the capital.

Deals for both border control and – most notably – airport development were also terminated by the government of Dr Mohamed Waheed, while the Tata housing project in Malé was delayed for two years as the incoming administration sought revised terms.

Assuming power in November 2013, the government of President Abdulla Yameen has sought to rebuild investor confidence, making the introduction of special economic zones (SEZ) the cornerstone of its economic policy.

The fostering of an investor friendly environment is intended to facilitate the development of a number of ‘mega projects’ which the administration hopes will move the economy away from its current dependence on tourism.

The SEZ bill was passed in September, and China has signed a preliminary contract agreement on the development of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport as well as promising to “favorably consider” financing the bridge project.

Proposed projects in the Malé region include the continued development of Hulhumalé to house the capital’s overflowing population, the construction of the Malé-Hulhulé bridge, and the relocation of the country’s main port from Malé to Thilafushi.


26 thoughts on “Future of Gulhifalhu in doubt as government halts project”

  1. My GOD.Maldives is very famous for garbing thing from Foreigners.
    Specifically investments. This is new is a eye opener for all the investors across the world to think twice when investing in Maldives. Why the government cannot understand the importance of Gulhu Flahu project. It is a national asset for citizen. Not for few top people.

  2. I am a person who booked flat. Thilafushi is problem not only for Gulhi Falhu. It is a problem for entire greater Male Region. It is a stupid idea if somebody wants to stop the project because Government is not capable of resolving garbage issue in Thilafushi. I feel somebody simply want to grab the property from GPD. This is very common. With hidden expectation of top innocent people like us are punished.

  3. This is a problem purely because president has given power to few (immature people) blindly. They do not understand the capacity and benefit of Gulhi Falhu Project to the Maldivian people. Of course, affluent people do not want the poor to get something. Please eat the cake with a little bit to poor.

  4. I am too a buyer. Government has to simply register the title and leave GPD alone. Then they will go ahead. GPD does not ask money from government. Government is purposely holding since they do not want people to get benefit out of the housing units.
    This will affect the popularity of the government definitely.

    This is a bigger issue. Flats are ready and government does not want people to reside. strange.

  5. With nearly the entire country's waste at its doorsteps, was it ever a wise decision to invest in the project? What was GPD's risk assessment regarding this?

    The key point to take from this is that investment in the Maldives is a very high risk affair. Despite every single possible permit being granted and agreements sealed and signed in blood, the regime can revoke them at any moment. Investors large and small will look at this with very carefully.

  6. Why the politics of this country cannot stop playing with people. Without people there is no government.

    We are watching you on what Housing Minister, GIL and EYC is going to do to project and to people. It is shame that Maldives is deteriorating the reputation of business security in terms of investments. I personally made so many request to GIL as a buyer. GIL is a public company and now they are destructing the project without helping people and investor. They have just approved the master plan (after 4 years) and now again they are stopping project. The title is to be issued by government not by people or GPD. Now we know who really do not want this project to proceed. When there is something good for country government should give helping hand. After waiting for last four years now trying to stop ??. As a buyer I have enough evidence to say that the project is delayed due to administrative issued of government.

  7. This is a very good step taken by the government. This project is a very 'mysterious' project run by one individual who is very alien in all ways.

  8. The Maldivian system for approving new housing developments appears to be similar to the procedures for administering international contracts.....absolutely bloody chaotic. Even your last presidential elections were a joke. I lost count of the number of cancellations and re runs.
    Does anything function efficiently in the Maldives?
    Let this latest example of inefficiency be a lesson to Indian investors.

  9. Anyways, another bad effect for country.
    I just watch GIL conference on TV as well. Now GIL (government) is simply accusing GPD, while forgetting what GIL's responsibilities and duties towards the Maldivians. GIL Fazeel was insisting payments from GPD without resolving the major issue such as title registration, approval of master plan Some are telling this is a MDP project and due that reason they should stop. I am a public servant working for a Ministry. I gathered information to say that this project was commenced during president Maumoon's period and while current president was the trade minister. It is our nature to forget the past and act like aliens when we want to grab things from others. Now all the buyers know who really wants to stop us taking flats and living in Gulhi. We are poor people who has booked flats from GPD. I am sure president Yaamin will never let us down but the doubt remain with the young people around him. Almighty Allah, will punish wrong doers. write back to me for
    sharing my information gathered.

  10. I though we learnt a lesson from GMR case.
    All our lawyers and politicians thought that we will not be paying compensation to the GMR. But when it went to SIAC everyone opened eyes. Now those who went and attended the case not paying compensation but we - ordinary Maldivians paying. this is also similar case. Anyway up to the top to take actions.

  11. @ Nova
    I have passed on your regards to Mr. Vadra. He said to convey his best wishes to Ahmed Adeeb.

  12. The truth should be known by the whole world. I am a person who involved in investigating the actual situation with this project. I spoke to the leader of the buyers association and I am buyer too. I got information from GPD as well. As a buyer I have been fighting with GPD for last three years to get my flat and now I know and realized whose fault of this turmoil is.
    It is simply politics that this project is having such issues. Frankly few people on top, namely Athifa from Housing Ministry, Mohamed Rushdi from GIL and Co-chair of economic council are trying to stop the project. Unfortunately those few people are given prominent place in the government and they can overrule the public will and opinion. It is indeed strange that these few people are deciding the future of people of Maldives and also future of foreign investments or local businesses.
    We have given our votes to Mr. Yaamin not to those people who are trying to control the whole Maldives. Unfortunately president Yaamin does not have control over said people. EYC has requested Housing Minister to prepare a report on GULHI project. Unfortunately the report has been prepared only by Athifa whereas there are several state ministers to be consulted in housing ministry and they were totally neglected. It is her solo report presented to president office. I know this since I am working for MHI.
    It is pathetic situation that president, vice president and cabinet cannot act beyond few people and put the country in right track. In vain, we are losing the reputation of the country. Truth is no investment will come to Maldives. Whoever giving a big cut to said people will survive and proceed in Maldives.
    I am not sure if MINIVAN will upload my comment. If yes you are not bias. Anyways, the country is in utter mess now. President Yaamin should get up to see the situation which has already created by giving the power to few blindly. Good investments (beneficial to Maldives) will never reach to Maldives in this manner. Corruption is open secret. In a way we cannot assume president Yaamin does not now anything on what is ongoing.
    The world must watch over Maldives’ situation.

    Local and foreign investor, please be alerted.

  13. Hi, Adeeb and Athifa,

    Are you all happy that so many Maldivians are suffering. Last four year Athifa was sleeping and now she wants to change the history. You both are really ruining the country.

    Athifa has total forgotten that she is given a post to serve the nation. When I came to meet you said you are not GIL or GPD. true. you are not. But you are the one who is giving wrong information to the president about the project. Be careful. Public does not like you at all.

  14. Long term plans will have deep roots and such wonderful plan can have long term benefits too!
    China is well known for long term plans which is making the greater country it is today!
    Gulhifalhu can be an ideal spot from where its Silk Road Project can be operated!
    They can deploy facilities and arsenal for its operation and security though it may not be as good as the Pearl Harbour at Honolulu, Hawaii!
    And surely China can cash in the entire project even at double the cost.
    Also top it off with some grand bridges, roads or even more!
    Who will it benefit then?
    Speculation or Maldives?

  15. No worries! Maldives is scaring sensible foreign investors away with all this corruption but China will keep investing and giving you handouts. But they don't give anything for free so get some lube and bend over! When China is ready to collect its debt, Maldives won't be able to see (or walk) straight.

  16. We can have so many names with attractive wordings. Are they really practical???
    What we have to think is now to protect and provide administrative services for remaining investors before bringing in new.

    Then only president Yaamin can rebuild investors confidence. Of course GMR was a controversy. GPD is other way around. Just take a look seriously. If we want GPD will go but be ready to face the consequences. We should not undermine the power of people ( Maldivians). My opinion is some of us are still in dream world.

  17. @waste of time

    I salute your thinking and honor your words.

    Very true. "Maldives is scaring sensible foreign investors away with all this corruption".

    China will teach very good lesson to Adeeb.Unfortunately poor Maldivian nation will be suffering for year and years because of this immature young chaps bullshit acts. In few months Adeeb will destroy the whole county.

    Mr. President, Please open your eyes before it is too late.
    GPD is sensible investor. Not a investor who greedy over money. They have already created national asset to the nation with zero investment from Government. Please resolve their legal problems without destroying the dream of innocent Maldivians.We are not foreigners to be punished by act of few people.
    Adeeb has enough money to live now. Athifa has a house in Malaysia. Please do not listen to them in making your final decision on project. We have been waiting for last three years for GOM to give a solution on simple legal issues. This is a job of one hour if you really want to resolve.

  18. Funny.
    Adeeb is waiting for China to salvage Maldives. China is will eventually sell Maldives and go.

    Please Adeeb, you better consult other senior Ministers when making decisions. Do not think you know all. Let others also just express their views. You are destroying your party popularity and also reputation of the country. Why don't you give a chance to share your big cake with others. Do not be greedy boy. President is too good for you. But for your information your are a unpopular sole in Government. All disgust your actions.Allah is watching.
    You are funny. You do not even allow others to talk in EYC specifically.

    Why not president give Mr. Jihad a chance to be chair. Oh How. He does not have power of tugs. ............ All the cabinet ministers are like puppets and Adeeb is making them to dance. This is the government.
    Oh Sad.

  19. Productive comments.
    I am proud of being Maldivian that some of us are speaking the truth as it is. No all. But the bitter truth is out on agony of this beautiful project now.
    GPD was not given any single support by any government. GPD is badly cheated by all.

    No land given to them. GPD made the land for people. From day one the title was not registered purposely. Master plan was not approved till September 2014. That also was done due to influence of desperate buyers. No financial support from Government or GIL. GIL did not invest at all. We know whose fault is this now. GPD paid concession fee regularly till beginning of 2013. Please check the financial statement from Auditor General's site.When GPD does not enjoy any right and when they are not allowed to sell the housing units and when their progress is on hold with intention by GIL, it is not ethical in terms of business to get money from GPD. My email ID is [email protected] and I can send the records to anyone.

    I spoke to GIL chairman and he only talks about due from GPD. Never talks that he did not resolve legal issues. Funny man.(who appointed him). People are crying and begging to start living in apartments which are completed by GPD. Instead of hearing and healing public GIL chairman is sticking to money money and money. Strange president Yaamin blindly sitting with no attention on this.

  20. @ Kashem
    Yes. None of the administration paid enough attention on this good project to our country. They took it for granted.

    Wait an see what will be the future of Maldives. It is only something to do with killing, bribes, and corruption.

    Current president has leased out his post to Adeeb and to few others. He is president for name sake. He doesn't know what Adeeb is doing. It is well known that Adeeb is corrupted and people are not blind. Nasheed was too fragile and Adeeb ( active president - Yaamin - Sleeping president)is too Illicit.

    Eventually Maldives will be a disgusting for Investors both foreign and local. Most of the top businessmen do not even bank their money in Maldives. They are smart.

    Moumoon is the best ruler, unfortunately he does not have any call now. Frankly Gulhi Falhu is Maumoon's product. He had best vision. Not yaamin, not Anni, not Adeeb,.

  21. so sad another botch up by my dear mad maldivians,when are going to learn to keep your promises. this is not an islamic marriage where you can divorce by repeating three times from any of your openings. this is business my fellowmen. come and learn how projects are executed. you seem to be plying a game of monoply


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