Former President Nasheed denounces DQP’s economic criticism of GMR contract

Former President Mohamed Nasheed on Sunday slammed a pamphlet released by the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) which claims to detail the financial loss caused to the country through leasing the international airport to Indian infrastructure giant company, GMR.

“I assure you that no loss at all would be caused to the Maldivian people through having a foreign company manage the airport,” Nasheed assured the crowds of over 1500 supporters gathered at Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s rally grounds Usfasgandu on Sunday night.

During his speech, Nasheed broke down the figures published in the book titled “Loss and Challenges of the long-term leasing of Male’ International Airport to GMR” written by current Special Advisor to the President, Dr Hassan Saeed. He further emphasised the inconsistencies that those figures held in comparison with the values he put forth with reference to external sources and the GMR contract.

“I am inclined to think that these people who have written this book must have studied their mathematics in an opium field in Afghanistan’s Kandahar. There is no other way that they could have gotten their arithmetic so completely wrong,” Nasheed said.

Nasheed said that while the book cites the MDP government’s estimation of a profit of MVR 45 billion in the next 25 years if GMR managed the airport, it went on to state that if the government took over management, they stood to receive a profit of MVR 60 billion (US$3.9 billion).

Elaborating on what the book had provided as backing for the said claim, Nasheed said “The first estimate they’ve made is that airport growth will increase by 25 percent every year. However, the IFC, World Bank, and other relevant international entities tell us that the rate of growth will be between 3.5 and 4.5 percent.”

“What is being said here is that the number of people coming to our airport far exceeds the number of tourist beds in the country. Even taking this to account, I see that they have sneaked in MVR 12 billion (US$778 million) to reach this 60 billion,” Nasheed said.

Nasheed added that the book had failed to consider the expenses that the Duty Free shops would pose, instead noting only estimated earnings.

“Usually expenses add up to 75 percent of earnings. Therefore, MVR 19.5 billion (US$1.26 billion) has been sneaked in to reach that 60 billion figure,” Nasheed stated.

“They also say that GMR is to invest MVR 4.8 billion (US$311 million) [over the lifespan of the contract] but I can without a doubt tell you that in accordance with the contract, GMR is to invest MVR 8.9 billion (US$577 million),” he further said.

Nasheed also pointed out that while the book claimed the government would finance the airport through a direct loan, they had omitted payment of any interest on the loan.

“In their accounting, they have not put down any expenses for the Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL). These expenses are at least a MVR 110 million (US$7.14 million) per year, so again MVR 2.7 billion (US$175 million) needs to be taken out from this said MVR 60 billion.”

“In conclusion, the actual figures show that if MACL manages the airport, the government will receive MVR 18 billion (US$1.16 billion) over the next 25 years. Whereas if GMR manages it, the government will receive MVR 45 billion (US$2.92 billion) – that is MVR 1.6 billion (US$103.7 million) per year,” stated Nasheed.

Nasheed further claimed that under the contract, the Passenger Service Tax (US$18 US from foreigners and US$12 from locals) which used to be paid to MACL was now paid directly to the government.

“Thus in addition to the figures I’ve just shared, an additional MVR 324 million (US$21 million) will go into the government budget,” Nasheed claimed.

“No truth in government’s claims to nationalise airport”: Nasheed

Nasheed said that statements regarding “reclaiming” the airport from GMR were “highly irresponsible”, stating that such words from a government could cause irreparable damage to the country.

“Most of us citizens will doubtless understand that putting up banners with slogans all over the streets of Male’ and raising voices against India holds no benefits at all for the country,” Nasheed said, criticising the current ‘Airport Week’ being marked by the unity government parties.

Nasheed further alleged that airport nationalisation was a topic currently being used by political actors for their own personal interests .

“They are talking about the airport, and the religion of Islam, nationalism, national heritage and patriotism for the sole purpose of pulling the wool over people’s eyes and to orchestrate the coup,” Nasheed continued. “Even today they are not really trying to take the airport back from the GMR. This talk about the Adhaalath Party and Waheed’s government nationalising the airport has no amount of truth in it,” he said.

“I remember one mutinying officer on February 7 saying that he was there because the MDP government had sold the airport his father and grandfather had built. I want to say that the airport is still there. The only difference is that it roof is no longer leaking,” Nasheed said.

Nasheed ended his speech sharing his wish that the airport was developed by a capable company and that it would in future become the best of its kind across Asia.

Minivan News tried contacting Hassan Saeed, but he was not responding to calls at time of press.

DQP Secretary General Abdulla Ameen, President of the Adhaalath Party (AP) Sheikh Imran Abdulla, and Minister of Islamic Affairs and AP Member Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed were also not responding to calls.

The Adhaalath Party has previously called on President Mohamed Waheed Hassan and other coalition parties to not conduct any communication with GMR which might disrupt the government’s push for airport nationalisation, a push it praised as “national jihad”.


18 thoughts on “Former President Nasheed denounces DQP’s economic criticism of GMR contract”

  1. Indian companies should Leave this stupid country, with Neanderthal men And women,

    Maldivian women are disgusting, and men are hairy, Neanderthal looking, and smell bad,
    you low caste Apes

    And worst of all you are Muslim, If Indian stops helping you, Saudi wont, Pakistan wont

    If you Maldivians were in my country, they will be lower Caste, cleaners or prostitutes

  2. Anni is the guidance we want. Anni is the man of the year. Anni is the new prophet.

    Anni for president!!!!

  3. From what Anni says, it's clear that Anni is just a babe in woods when it comes to issues of political economy.

    The issue is NOT about arithmetic. Airport is a strategic asset that should be kept nationalized even if it runs at a loss.

    Also don't put wool on Maldivian eyes. We know GMR is funding MPs

    Anni can ever come to presidency bec of airport sale to GMR

  4. Anni was by far and away the best president you guys had and you blew it ! Waheed and his cronies are making you guys for fools selling religion and nationalist ideals. How this Waheed can even look at himself in the mirror and believe he has the people in his heart is just truly incredible.
    Maldives is a ship lost at sea right now !

  5. I will go further than Nasheed and claim that Hassan Saeed knows no mathematics at all! Just ask him what the square root of 2 is: that will blow away his mind!

    Although I have a lot of disagreements over many of Nasheed's policies, Nasheed is right about the airport. MACL lacks any credible evidence of running/maintaining a world class airport. Do you guys know how much money has already been poured into the airport over the last 30 years? What? You don't know?

    The most successful airports all over the world are run by large multi-nationals. London's Heathrow terminals are NOT run by a British company, for example? Does that pose a threat to UK national security? Only Kandhahar educated Mullahs will think that.

    In short, Mullahs have yet to grasp the idea of globalisation. Don't hold your breath though; it will take a few centuries for them to get their head around that!

  6. In essence there is nothing wrong with hiring foreign expertise to develop our airport.

    What is wrong in my view is the sheer amount of concessions provided to the party.

    We should retain control over airport service charges because we depend on our tourism for the better part of State revenue.

    We should prevent GMR from engaging in retail businesses in order to protect our retail sector.

    We should demand that GMR employ local businesses and human resource to a minimum level.

    While these demands are restrictive, they are important in order to retain our control over our economy.

    However GMR has a done deal in their hands. They have the stronger bargaining position therefore we have to deal with this matter with prudence and tact.

    As for the political opposition to the airport, there are several reasons, some more sincere than others. All politics aside, the Maldivian government has a responsibility to protect local businesses. The Maldivian government should also protect foreign investments after inviting them in. The Maldivian government has a duty to protect sovereign interests as well.

    What remains is for our leadership to strike the balance however they will.

  7. the whole hype about nationalisation and what not by a group of people who might not know anything about why they are even fighting is completely absurd.As far as seen, even if there were other bidders for the airport, its obvious that an indian company would have been the best option as Airport developer considering our close cultural and ethnic similarity. And what madness is this about the retail sector being endangered by GMR?? GMR just runs Duty Fee and that is in no way related to or has an effect on Local businesses for god's sake!!

  8. Maldives will prosper once Mullarsim and Mumoonism is completely eradicated. These two phenomenons are evil forces that have negative effects to any developing country. Both originated out of ignorance that does not have any traces of modern history and education. Fight against these two evils Mullarsim and Maumoonism should be the motto of new Maldives.

    Maldives need a radical shift to change the history otherwise it will remain in ignorance under the influence of these two evil forces, under developed and never be prosperous.

  9. Absolute poppycock! It is Anni that has no clue about the airport. Suvadeeb, It was Mahmood Razee who was in charge of Aviation in Maldives during the years of Gayoom too. He is the one who is responsible for the fiasco at MACl. It was he, who brought the changes at MACL.
    This concession is a disaster for Maldives. There is nothing wrong in using foreign expertise but they way this concession agreement has been written by IFC whose regional office is based in Dehli is the cause of this whole thing. Do you know that GMR was going to be disqualified at the initial stage? Do you know that their bid was not the best one?
    As for you Watta, there is a technical plan by GMR that is not even included in the original concession agreement that gives them the right to develop all kinds of business on the western side of Hulule? This is nothing about Duty Free. Do you know that they keep developing all business they make profit out of yet keep delaying most of the aviation related matters?
    Did you know that they were given extra concessions on the fuel payments after the concession agreement was signed?
    Do you know that they were given the right to sack anyone they want after the completion of two years?
    Do you know that Maldives can only have three International Airport and they are named as Male', Gan and Hanimaadhoo?

    Getting foreign involvement is one thing. Giving this concession as in this agreement is a different story.

  10. @manik

    So your word is the absolute truth huh blah blah blah. Show me the beef pal!!! All I hear is nonsense. your Golhaabo took USD 200 million loan from Arab states to develop Hulhule Airport, after all funds his family could eat in 30 years, what we got is a Hulhule Baalidhee Airport.

    If you lift the veil of incorporation, you will see that most of these dutyfree shops (Najah Art Palace etc) operated by Maldivians are affiliated to Dictator Gayooms Family. These are con duty-free shops trafficking liquor to resorts without paying the duty.

  11. Anni may not know his maths and he always come with a huge figures without knowing what he is talking about?

    Since he got a huge amount from GMR as cut, he will have to commit a political suicide to decent them.

    Anni we are not mad and we know our figures and don't try to twist this figures.

    Probably you were drunk when you spoke about this and you may not be in a position to know what is going around you .

  12. @ mody

    I am getting absolutely fed up of seeing these comments from you Mody. You seem to make accusatiion after accusation about President Nasheed. What I want to know from you is what have YOU done about these things that you know President Nasheed did. Why have you not reported these things to the Police, the MNDF the ACC, the parliament?

    I ahve asked you before to substantiate your ever expanding list of atrocities that President Nasheed appears to havecommitted.

    And I get no reply. You come back again with more accusations.

    I am beginning to think you are mentally deranged. And should seriously see a therapist. Your obsession with President Nasheed is not healthy. Not at all.

  13. MDP must conduct night classes to Political leaders about economics and macro-economics. They are opposing GMR not because they are insincere but because they are ignorant. Teach them how to think out of the box - for chan

  14. @manik: you sound like you were brain washed by our famous dictator or his accomplices. HulHule has been given on lease to GMR and their only plan is to bring local businesses to come to that island. GMR DOESN'T own any part of Maldives. so whats the whole hype about when the incompetent government is getting triple the earnings they used to get? All the poorest of poor infrastructure and leaking roofs are witness. Go read in the complaints register or atleast on travel advisor what great opinion tourists have about this country and the airport! think and talk. don't echo dictators and corrupt power hungry politicians.

  15. @manik ha ha! You sound like a former airport employee has-been who is bitter about the likes of highly qualified Mahmood Razee. Perhaps you never managed to get yourself educated like him. Perhaps you never completed the degrees you started to do? Or perhaps the coup regime has given you the job which you never managed to get from the MDP govt? Go and read about the whole GMR deal before you start jumping up and down.


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