DRP will not honour “shady deals” made over Male’ International Airport

Vice President and Spokesman for the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Ibrahim Shareef has said the DRP will not honour “shady deals made according to vested interests” if the party comes to power in 2013, referring to the government’s privatising of the country’s airports.

The government has shortlisted three parties to run Male’ International airport and will select one over the next 3-4 days.

The parties include Aéroports de Paris Management Company of France (ADP) and Turkish company TAV Airports Holding Company, Indian company GVK Airport Developers in partnership with Swiss Flughafen Zurich AG, and GMR-KLIA.

Shareef expressed concern that the government’s efforts to privatise state assets, such as the airport, were not occurring with parliament approval.

“Parliament is in the process of amending a public finance bill that will stipulate the government has to put these decisions before parliament,” he said.

“If the governing party will not accept this, then the new [DRP] government will not honour this type of shady deal. We will not honour shady deals – only lawful deals according to parliament.”

Shareef said the airport was currently “making the government money”, and the asking price it had set “is so low. [The deal] is riddled with corruption,” he alleged. “If the government has nothing to hide, it has nothing to lose from asking parliament.”

Minister for Civil Aviation and Chairman of the Privatisation Committee Mahmoud Razee told Minivan News that “as far as I understand we are proceeding according to the public finance act which is currently in force. Parliament legislates but actual delivery is up to the executive.”

It is the opposition’s “prerogative to say what they wish,  but the reason why experienced and reliable companies are involved in this bid is because they believe that this is a viable project.”

The Male’ airport privatisation deal would be for 25 years, extendable by another 10 years, and would require a minimum level of investment towards upgrading the airport in the first three years to meet a certain level of service.

“A certain percentage of the service charge will to go to the government, and in addition [the operator] will also prescribe a percentage of the revenue,” Razee said.

Within three years, the government would expect a new terminal on the eastern side of the airport islands, up to international standards, and the completion of aero bridges (passenger walkways), effectively doubling the annual capacity of the airport from 1.6 million passengers to 3 million passengers.

The intention was to enable fast growth of the country’s tourism market, he explained.

“It’s bound to grow – particularly the Chinese and Indian markets,” Razee said. “We’ve already received applications from Air Asia and several Chinese carriers.”

Meanwhile, the government yesterday signed an agreement with Dubai-based company Supreme Fuel Trading to manage Gan airport for 30 years, in an agreement intended to hasten development of the southern region of the Maldives by allowing 747 class aircraft to land.

“At the moment the largest aircraft that can land [in Gan] is the 767 and the Dash 100-200,” Razee said.

The government has also received a proposal from GMR to upgrade Hanimadhoo airport and increase tourist traffic to the northern atolls.

For a country dependent on international tourist arrivals, the airports are the ventricles of the Maldives economy. Addressing concerns that privatising them would loosen the government’s control over these critical assets, Razee observed that all the interested parties being considered “have experience running many international airports”.

“Security will continue to be overseen by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), and the airport will be certified by civil aviation authorities irrespective of who is running the airport,” he explained.

Tourism in the Maldives is showing signs of steady growth, with an increase of 20 percent in the first five months of 2010 compared to last year.

Arrivals for first five months of this year were seven percent higher than for the same period during the boom year of 2008.

Meanwhile, the 91 resorts in country had a steady occupancy rate of 82.3 percent.


40 thoughts on “DRP will not honour “shady deals” made over Male’ International Airport”

  1. no matter who takes over airport, the perfumes duty free must remain with Lintel Investiments.

  2. Can someone please remind Mr Shareef that we have a presidential form of government in the Maldives!

  3. DRP or some other party that he might join in the foreseeable future?

  4. The day the Male International Airport is haneded over to a foreign company is gonna be a sad day for all patriotic citizens of this country. Male Airport known earlier as Hulhule Airport is the end result of blood,sweat,tears and toil of hundreds of Maldivians during the mid 1960s.It was under the benevolent leadership of Ameer Ibrahim Nasir that the first Airport was built after removing a makeshift runway laid by the British in Hulhule.Hundreds of patriotic Maldivians took an active part in clearing the dense Hululhe forests and laying the ruway. Technical assistance was sought from Ceylon.Former President Maumoon, too was a pivotal figure in the upgrading of the airport to international standards,first under Nasir as the Transport Minister and subsequently as the President of the Republic.Today the pride of our Motherland is been given over to a foreign concern under some hasty and shady deal. How can bids of this magnitude be evaluated in 3 to 4 days and agreement signed.Some countries who want to spread their hegemony over us are dancing in glee at the opportunities provided to them by a bunch of fools.If we study the recent history of Maldives, from the end of World War 2 up to the present,we find that all three Presidents did their utmost to protect the independence of our nation.

  5. It is Ok DRP not honouring any agreement done between the government of the Maldives and foreign companies.

    DRP would not be a party to the Agreement.

    The agreement would say Government of the Maldives,not MDP or DRP Government.

  6. when tourists come to Maldives the first thing they will experience is a place managed by foreigners, they will then fly on Maldivian Air taxi, a company operated by foreigners to a resort managed by foreigners. Almost all the money the tourists spend will benefit foreigners.

    When a Maldivian arrives to his or her country he steps foot on a place managed by a foreigner, what a sad feeling dho

  7. If DRP or even Mavota Sharyf is serious, then they should do all they can in Parliament to block the transfer of the Male Airport to a foreign party. Further more the ground reality is that if the party chosen is an Indian entity then even the DRP,if ever they come to power will not be in a postion to reverse the deal for reasons that are obvious even to a dumb head.Rather than trying to get votes of no confidence on petty matters, political leaders should mature and come of age and think in the national interest.

  8. So President Nasheed is going to sell our face. the first place a tourist will see when stepping out of the aircraft. Whats wrong with him.

    Ibrahim, Have you heard of something called Nationalisation. You seem to be a bit confused.

  9. So what would a DRP government coming into power do -

    they would dismantle the new terminal, all the aero-bridges and the new facilities there

    then they would pay millions of dollars in compensation to the foreign party because the GOVT would renege on a contract

    after that they would inform the new DRP president - who incidentally is too busy rebuilding their new palace at Theemuge with an even bigger swimming pool or ordering even more expensive nappies from England....

    who - like the previous DRP president - would not give a s***

  10. Mavota Shareef should work for the IMF and the World Bank and I am sure they will make him President of both organizations. He has the qualifications and experience of the most prominent authority on public finance and all other finance and on any matter related to economics of the entire world.

  11. Plans of a Dubai company taking over US ports was blocked by the US Congress at the last minute. Reason given, national interest and national security. In Maldives we have a bunch of crap MP's who waste our money and their time arguing over petty little things or could say most of them are simple puppets. Can the Privatization Committee chairman Razee and Finance Minister give us few good reasons why this has to be done. Yes we know that one party that will benefit is Lintel Investments or Le Cute Perfume Duty Free. Come for an open debate guys and we can give you a thousand reasons why this should not be done or rather how we can develop this airport without foreign intervention. A quick buck is not the way forward in todays world, we should think long term.
    Is this airport losing money or is it making profit now?
    Can they raise finance? yes is the answer. So why the hell??

  12. Please don't give this deal to the Indian Company in the bid. I am getting fed up of this MDP giving every deal to the Indians.

  13. How stupid and narrow minded are comments coming from certain parties. Never mind that Nasir and others toiled their sweat and blood to build the airport. The reality TODAY is that the country doesn't have the money or the expertise to run an airport that's necessary for our economic growth.

    Regardless who runs the airport, we should all be proud of the day the place becomes a leading international airport that acts as a gateway for our economic growth. We need to encourage foreign investment and investors if we are to dig ourselves out of the miserable hole we are in.

    Nasir and Maumoon were not really interested in seeing full scale development of the country; they had their own personal agenda. Nasir looted Gan airport when the RAF left!

  14. idiots..hes' selling away all our assets..are we to smile n wait???..hurry stop him befor its too late...

  15. Shareef still thinks we have Maumoon style Maldives and they can do whatever they like because the law is whatever they decide as convenient to them. This is history now. Wake up Shareef. You can't control the excecutive through parliament. And any deal of the previous government will have to be honoured by the subsequent governments as long as it is actually legal, NOT legal as in blessed by Maumoon.

  16. One of the few good things that MDP government is doing. But it all depends on whether Razee is able to do this the way he wants without the influence of people like I.H Zaki. Razee is one of the few people in the MDP top rank that can be trusted.

  17. Ahmed! can I tell you something. There is a Maldivian proverb that says each crab will dig its hole to its capacity. We Maldivians do not have money or expertise so whats wrong with it. Both Nasir and Maumoon knew that and they knew of the alternative as well but they are wise people. They could have sold the airport but they were foresighted and knew the consequences. They knew the capacity of the Maldivian people, they knew many things that you and I do not. God had given them wisdom and they used it for the benefit of the country. Every society makes a mistake Nasheed is our mistake we should learn from this mistake.

    If you are impotent do you mean to say you will let every Tom, Dick or Harry to satisfy your wife. I think your wife will be contend with your capacity. Hope you get the point or are you too blind and stupid to get it.

  18. Any deal by a previous gevernment should be honoured by subsequent governments in most instances as HasanK says. But our Parliament is sovereign and has the constituional and legal authority to block this deal.So if the DRP and its so called partners are sincere enough they can present a bill to prohibit the privatisation of the Male Airport. I strongly question the sncerity of the DRP Coalition for not doing so up to now.You have only two days and as JFK had said "Sincerity is always subject to proof".What I feel is DRP too wants this deal to go through but for public consumption is staging a show without doing anything concrete.

  19. Hi Shareef, I would really like to see DRP try to dishonour a contract made by the Govt of Maldives with an Indian company for the airport-- see how long DRP can say in Muleeaage.

  20. O yes, DRP would tear up all contracts the current government has made with big foreign companies, wouldn't they? DRP is still stuck in 1974! Thasmeen, wake and shake loose these dinosaurs in your party; you weren't even born in 1974!

  21. I just wish the opposition speaks on national interest rather than rejecting or trying to block each and every move the government makes to develop the country and fulfill their manifesto, for which purpose we Maldivians elected them. For their own selfish advantage, the opposition is trying to halt the development of this nation during these 5 years. Show some responsibility while being in the opposition!

  22. DRP will not need to honour these deals, since Maldivian voted the renamed bath party (drp) out for good, Drp has never been loosing so much supporters to Pa and MDP

  23. Shady deals! VP, DRP & Ma Vota Shareef! What a soup!

    The people of Maldives once did have asset in steel! We had ships amounting to well over 60 that the benevolent leader, Late Ameer Ibrahim Nasir acquired, paid for and put together before he left office. If in doubt, one could possibly ask higherachy of his government who are still alive! It could be a story of a lifetime!

    It was "History in the Indian Ocean"!

    Local sailors who braved the high seas as sailors can tell you more about patriotism and the difference between it and vandalism!

    How about finding what happened to this giant of the Indian Ocean!

    Was it not the blood, sweat, tears and toil of Maldivians! Especially the women who have had to suffer the sorrow and adverse effects of their husbands earning their bread by braving the high seas!

  24. "Regardless of all its potential benefits, privatisation also involves risks and requires prudent management from the public authorities. Several policy issues have to be contemplated by the governments if the public interest needs to be safeguarded. Specifically, the eventual externality, negative or positive effect imposed by airport users over non-users or other users, generated by the provision of airport services or strengthened market position gained by the airport operator after privatization should be carefully considered. In this respect, a REGULATORY REGIME(in terms of charges, safety, quality, and noise intensity or spatial planning) should be designed before privatization takes place and the regulatory role ought to be delegated to an INDEPENDENT BODY."



  25. I would like to remind MDP!

    Just because you do not have the capacity to RUN a government, it does not mean you have to put the whole country on Sotheby's!

    For God's sake you don't sell your women folk when you are hungry for power!

    You DON'T virtually handover the main gateway of our small nation to foreigners just like that.

    I am not against foreigners or xenophobic as such, BUT for heaven's sake we can RUN our OWN nation when you earnestly try and stop all the BLOOMING corruption that is so widespread in our nation and which was practiced in broad daylight earlier with the blessing of Maumoon's corrupted regime and now your's (ANNI!)

    Why is that you have to believe reliquishing the REIGNS to foreigners is the ultimate solution in every thing?

    What is the matter with you, MDP and ANNI?

    If Ibrahim Nasir can show the middle finger to Britain and re-build our airport when our country earned just $25,000 maximum as gross domestic product, then what on earth is lacking in our economy to manage an airport to handle less than 1 million passengers per annum?

    We are not the MALDIVES INCORPORATED of MDP!!!

    Stop this MADNESS immediately, and at once!!!

    Our nation has become a WHORE for the dirty pimps of the world! Get ME a good price and FEAST on your booty (MALDIVES AT YOUR SERVICE!)


  26. Here is the math. To increase facilities to handle increased tourist arrivals (by over one and a half million), the arport needs about $500million. The government would have to save up for over five years to have this money. By then even more money would be needed to develop the airport. Should a foreign company invest that money NOW and increase capacity for tourist arrivals, revenues for Maldivians from multiple sectors will increase proportionally. Where else should the government, any government DRP or QDP, source the money other than from foreign sources? The foreigners cannot airlift the airport elsewhere and whatever add-ons that the airport gets would continue to remain in Maldives, including the government, and thereby the country's share of revenues.

  27. It is interesting to note that Presidents Economic advisor Ali shiyam is also included in the privatization commitee.
    Hmm, seems like something is cooking.
    Anyway lets hope that through their dark deals they will at least be able to repay the loans. OUR MONEY.

  28. @Baikandi

    Here is an even better MATH!
    They invest $500m and cost us 499.99m! Isn't that almost equal to NOTHING?

    We can save hundreds of millions of $$$$ if CORRUPTION is stopped.

    Putting the whole nation on JUMBLE SALE will not SAVE or solve anything, apart from filling the pockets of a few MDP activists!

    Look how adamantly MDP is trying to SELL OFF our AIRPORTS to foreigners as if they were fungus infested water-melons harvested by ANNI the farmer from Thoddoo!

    ANNI won't even bother to wait and see if any one single of these ventures would become a success!

    APPOLLOS and LOLLIES may lull babies. RED WAVES may dazzle the superstitious, BUT not us!

    MY government is a @$$ SMOOCHER! I STAND against SMOOCHING!

    Especially if my @$$ is involved!

  29. Give our Turkish Muslim brothers a chance to win!
    We have enough of Indians on our beautiful country!!

  30. The airport is a disgrace. Find the money to upgrade it. If you dumb Maldivians spend all your money (which BTW is mostly borrowed from foreign entities) on masuni then the only logical option is to seek foreign capital for this project.

  31. @MLE_Observer

    Hey! You moron.

    No country uses it's own money!

    We don't need $78m to sell out airport to an Indian Company.

    Airport is a profit making company. If we remove the corruption, we can increase the profit by many folds.

    What is the use of selling the country's main assets?

    SLOW and STEADY wins the race. NOT THE FAST AND FURIOUS.

  32. someone in this administration told me that people have always been assigned portfolios in this government based on their field of training and experience. So all those who disapprove this airport deal, just shut the _____ up. let them handle this situation as they would. they are in power currently. however, we have a greater power. its called the people power.
    Shall the water level rise above our nose we shall yet again raise for our rights, our assets and OUR COUNTRY.

  33. @heck

    What do you mean no country uses its own money? Not all countries are basket cases and need international aid money.

    Privatization of government assets is a condition of IMF money. That means selling the airport and selling stakes in STO, MTCC, and all the other government monopolies.

    If you don't like that fact fix your economy and stop asking citizens in other countries to pay for your sh*t with their tax dollars. Tax dollars - something you wouldn't know about because you haven't had to pay a cent in your life.

  34. What a government!
    Why blame IMF, World Bank & IFC... Why not UN & Obama?

    Our forefathers built the Airport with bare hands and today WE DO HAVE the capacity to upgrade it to any level. Instead of throwing away (part of?) additional Tax US$25 (US$40 Million a year), we can start the project with it. In 3-5 years, we will have a modern airport better than the GMR concept and Airport will still be OUR OWN!

  35. I am sorry to see so many comments showing insecurity amongst the Maldivians. Unfortunately to survive in the global economy you either perform well or perish altogether. If the present company were really doing such a great job, there won't be any need to privatise the airport. And BTW why is foreign money so bad? Do yo know even Heathrow is managed by Fraport (A German company)? Guys, learn to adapt with time. This is not 19th century anymore. Patriotism is good thing, but just think if everybody thinks in same way, why would any other country give job to a Maldivian, or buy products from Maldives or come to enjoy Maldive sun?

  36. @ Virendra

    "This is not 19th century anymore. Patriotism is good thing, but just think if everybody thinks in same way, why would any other country give job to a Maldivian, or buy products from Maldives or come to enjoy Maldive sun?"

    So. Just two days in your new job and you have started to lecture us Maldivians already?

    What's in store for the next quarter of a century?

  37. @ Virendra

    "I am sorry to see so many comments showing insecurity amongst the Maldivians."

    What? So you mean even Mahatma Gandhi was insecure of East India Company and the British Raj?

    Maldivians have already tasted the bitterness of allowing Bohra Merchants to play with our internal and political affairs. So there has to be a reason why Maldivians are insecure. It's nothing out of the blue, Viren dear!


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