President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik has pledged a number of infrastructure projects next year for several islands during a recent tour of Dhaalu atoll.
The former vice president was accompanied during the trip by Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muizz and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb as well as Independent MP for Dhaal Meedhoo Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam and Independent MP for Dhaal Kudahuvadhoo Ahmed Amir.
Addressing the people of Meedhoo on Saturday, Waheed pledged a land reclamation project next year to ease congestion, in addition to promising to include funds in the 2013 budget for a football stadium in the island.
Speaking at the rally in Meedhoo, MP Shiyam offered assurances to his constituents that the land reclamation project would commence next year.
Waheed’s tour of Dhaal atoll was reported extensively by the resort magnate’s radio station and affiliated website Sun Online. While the pledges were reported by the online news outlet owned by the resort owner MP, the press briefings on the President’s Office website made no mention of the promised infrastructure projects.
In his visit to the island of Badidhoo in Dhaal atoll, Waheed pledged to include funds in next year’s budget to construct a harbour in the island.
Assuring the people of Badidhoo that the project would commence next year, Waheed also promised that the government would restart a stalled project to construct additional classrooms in the island’s school “in the near future.”
Speaking to the people of Maa’ebudhoo on Sunday, Waheed meanwhile pledged to include funds in next year’s budget for a harbour project for the island.
Waheed also pledged a project to establish a sewerage system in the island but did not specify a date for commencement.
In his visit to Kudahuvadhoo on the same day – which was marked by an anti-government demonstration and the arrest of six protesters – Waheed pledged a land reclamation project for the island “early next year” ahead of the construction of an airport.
Waheed noted that a project for construction of a seawall was ongoing in Kudahuvadhoo and said that the government planned to issue soft loans for construction of houses, arguing that such a policy would be better than the construction of flats or housing units by the government.
“Several youth have obtained land tenures. But they are not able to build houses for long periods of time. The solution to this is not sudden construction of a bunch of flats. That’s not the solution. The real solution is to find ways for people to live, and to help them build houses,” he was quoted as saying.
In his last stop on the tour of Dhaalu atoll, Waheed told the people of Hulhudheli yesterday (Monday, October 29) that he would try to put together a project to establish a sewerage system in the island next year.
He added that the government’s utility company, Fenaka Corporation, would be instructed to upgrade the engine in the island’s powerhouse.
President Waheed and First Lady Madam Ilham Hussain arrived in Male’ in the late afternoon yesterday after concluding his trip.
Upon his return, the President tweeted with a picture of a procession welcoming him to an island: “Just returned from a visit to Dhaal Atoll and Faaf Nilandhoo having spent Eid Al Adh’aa with the people.”
While the President pledged infrastructure projects and told the people of Meedhoo that the economy was “doing fine” and that there was no cause to “worry about the economy being in a slump,” Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad told Sun Online that the government was unprepared to meet its recurrent expenditure – including salaries – for the final three months of 2012 without a US$25 million loan promised by the Indian government.
Moreover, addressing the people of Nilandhoo in Faafu atoll – the first stop of the tour – Waheed reportedly said that borrowing large sums of money from foreign parties in order to run the government would not be the policy of his government.
According to Sun Online, “the President said that that his policy is to meet the expenditure of the government with government income. He also said that his priorities are decided on the basis of what is necessary for the country.”
“We are trying to secure sources of income for the nation. I will not try to run the government by securing huge loans from foreign parties. We are trying to spend from what we earn,” Waheed was quoted as saying.