The unpaid electricity bills for Addu City’s Equatorial Convention Centre (ECC) have reached MVR 7.9 million (US$512,000) local media has reported.
Local director for the state-owned FENAKA utilities company told Sun Online that the constant supply of electricity needed for the three-year-old facility had not been paid since its construction.
Built on reclaimed marsh land for the for the hosting of the 17th SAARC summit in 2011, the ECC has become somewhat of a white elephant, with current responsibility for its upkeep falling to the Housing Ministry.
Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sodig has previously expressed concern that the neglect of the convention centre could cause irreparable damage to the premises.
Earlier this year the Housing Ministry also reclaimed oversight of the country’s other major convention centre, Dharubaaruge in Malé. On this occasion the ministry accused Malé City Council of failing to maintain the facility, to which the council responded that it had not been granted the promised funds.
Both Malé City and Addu City councils are heavily dominated by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party.
Zuhair told Sun today that requests to secure payment for the ECC’s bills had been unsuccessful.
Previous plans to lease the centre to private companies were shelved after the fall of the MDP government in February 2012, the same month the winning bidder was to take over operations.