EXIM Bank of China offers US$57 million loan for IT infrastructure overhaul

The state-owned EXIM Bank of China has offered the Maldives a US$57 million (RF878 million) loan to assist the development of IT infrastructure in the country, Minister of Communication Dr Ahmed Shamheed had told local media.

Dr Shamheed yesterday confirmed that the funding, which can be paid back over a 20 year period, would still require approval by the People’s Majlis under next year’s budget. If approved, he told local newspaper Haveeru that the “majority” of the loan would be spent on building a new 15-storey government office designed partly to house new national IT projects.

Shamheed was not responding to calls from Minivan News at the time of press.

Speaking yesterday, the communication minister claimed that projects including the introduction of so called “smart cards” – proposed as an all-in-one driver’s license, identity and an ATM card – and a high definition (HD) video conference network would be set-up with the loan.

Shamheed told Haveeru that the projects would be undertaken by the Centre for Information Technology (NCIT), as part of wider plans to connect government authorities through a single IT network.