Decision on future of waste management project expected within a week: State Minister Matheen

A decision over whether to cancel a contract with India-based Tatva Global Renewable Energy for the provision of a waste management system in the Male’ area will be taken by the Environment Ministry this week, according to local media.

A final decision on the contract – which was last month in the process of renegotiation between the current government and Tatva Global Renewable Energy – is expected to be taken within the next five days, State Minister for Environment and Energy Abdul Matheen Mohamed has reportedly confirmed.

Matheen claimed Monday (December 25) that final discussions with the company were set to take place over whether the ministry would seek to scrap the contract, Local newspaper Haveeru has reported.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration signed the original waste management agreement with Tatva in May 2011 in a deal that was supposed to have generated power from recycling waste. The scheme was also said to be part of attempts to improve the overall standards of waste management in Male’ and the nearby “garbage island”, Thilafushi.

The deal, like the airport development agreement with India-based GMR declared void by the government last month, was been backed by International Finance Corporation (IFC), an affiliate organisation of the World Bank, according to the Inter Press Service news agency.

However, parts of the agreement were ordered halted by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in August this year over alleged concerns about the contract approved by the former government.

The ACC received concerns that the project would lead to an anticipated loss of MVR 1 billion (US$64.8 million) in government finances over a 20 year operating period, according to local news reports at the time.

“Mutually beneficial”

Environment Minister Dr Mariyam Shakeela announced earlier this month that discussions were taking place as to whether the previous contract agreed with Tatva could be replaced with a more “mutually beneficial” agreement.

“Provided they perform within the time frame given, the contract will remain with Tatva,” she said in response to whether the company would retain its role on the waste management project.

However, Male’ City Council (MCC) has criticised the renegotiation attempts, accusing the state of trying to sabotage the agreement outright for political gain.