“The good news is that the Maldives is not about to disappear”: President Waheed

“First of all, I want give you a bit of good news. The good news is that the Maldives is not about to disappear,” President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has told a group of Sri Lankan businessmen in Colombo yesterday, according to media reports.

Speaking during his official state visit to the Maldives’ closest neighbour, Waheed told an assembled group of business heads at the Hilton Colombo hotel that the country could mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming.

Waheed made the comments in an attempt to assure his audience in Colombo yesterday that steps were being taken to stabilise the political climate in the country, as well to retain investor confidence.

The President said that large sections of the state budget were currently being spent on combating coastal erosion, providing clean water for the islands and developing renewable energy to minimize overall expenditure.

Since assuming the presidency, Waheed has pledged to work towards the previous administration’s carbon neutrality strategy, while also announcing intentions to make the Maldives the world’s largest bio-reserve.

There has also been discussion of a green energy fund to raise US$100 million for renewable energy projects through voluntary tourist contributions.

The country’s energy sector had been headed for a dramatic overhaul this year before the political instability surrounding February’s transfer of presidential was claimed to have deterred potential investors in such a project.

The Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP) promised to attract up to $3billion in risk-mitigated renewable energy investment and reduce the Maldives’ dependency on imported oil.

The environmental obstacles besetting the low-lying archipelago had been championed by former President Mohamed Nasheed, who garnered international media attention with his underwater cabinet meetings and a promise to make the country carbon neutral by the year 2020.

Nasheed’s media campaign was covered in the documentary film, “The Island President”, which highlighted his negotiations at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit.

Before assuming office, Nasheed told international media that he had discussed the idea of purchasing land in Sri Lanka, amongst other nations, “as an insurance policy for the worst possible outcome.”

Investor Confidence

Waheed assured his audience in Colombo yesterday that the government was also focused on bolstering investor confidence.

Threats to renationalise Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) – currently being developed by Indian company GMR – have recently brought calls from within the national-unity government for greater consideration of the longer-term impact on foreign investment.

President Waheed is also reported as having told Sri Lankan media that both the economy and the tourism industry, which indirectly contributes around 70percent of GDP, were growing.

A President’s Office statement, however, has reported that Waheed told the group gathered at the Hilton that there had been a decline in the tourism industry recently.

The Tourism Ministry’s most recent figures show that, compared with the same point in 2011, tourist arrivals were up by 2.8 percent, whilst occupancy rates had dropped 1.2 percent.

Figures published by the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) show that the economy was expected to grow by 5.5percent this year, a slight slow down on the previous year.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb, who is accompanying President Waheed to Sri Lanka, was unavailable for comment when contacted today.

At present, a key economic concern to the government is the current budget deficit, anticipated to reach MVR9.1billion (US$590million) – over 28 percent of nominal GDP.

Haveeru reported that Waheed has informed the Sri Lankan press of austerity measures which were delivered to the Majlis by the Finance Ministry earlier this month.

The Sri Lanka Daily News meanwhile reported that he was in the process of finalising agreements which would strengthen bilateral ties in trade and investment as well as the legal and the educational sectors.

Minister for Economic Development Ahmed Mohamed and President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza were not responding to calls at the time of press.


15 thoughts on ““The good news is that the Maldives is not about to disappear”: President Waheed”

  1. Waheed is right this time. Maldives is NOT sinking. Further, any one who portray Maldives as a sinking nation is causing great economic and reputational harm to the country.

    By law, people who cause harm to the nation are called Baagees or traitors. In this situation Waheed is not the Baghee.

  2. Hahaha, what nonesense, of course the Madlives isn't sinking it is already beneath the normal tolerance of human nature of respect for others, but if Waheed is talking about climate change then he does have a point the islands are not sinking, the oceans are rising, it's just a play on words for future investments that will be a waste of money either from corrupt officals or washed away beneath the waves.

  3. True. It's just that the oceans are rising, not that the Maldives is sinking.

  4. Global warming is very real. I'll go with the consensus of the vast majority of scientists over the half baked opinions of the Mordey-Abdul-retards that make up the bulk of our online commentators and that of our scientifically illiterate president any day of the week.

    The concerns that playing up the global warming threat could scare off foreign investors however is legitimate.

    We need to find a balance between scientific illiteracy and risking our long term national survival, on the one hand, and encouraging short to medium term economic development through foreign investment, on the other.

  5. Anni made those voices to become the champion of environment for his personal gain.

    Yes sea level is rising and also our Island are also growing . Since Maldive islands are coral Island and coral has a growth and then so does the Islands.

    Anni did everything to get him famous at the cost of our nation.

  6. Agree with Dhonbe.

    None of us has the knowledge nor the capacity to doubt the vast body of scientific research published on the subject of climate change and sea level rise.

    However it is of utmost importance to temper our rhetoric with the overriding need to attract investment to our country. The threat however real, lies in the distant future, according to scientists. The need to avoid it is real yet we, as a threatened nation, cannot be a part of the alarmist activism used to drum up attention for the cause.

  7. @Ahmed.. Waheed as buoy or his nappy stuffed pants as a buoy... ?

  8. HRCM should investigate this matter, Waheed is under the influence of Jazbaathu when he made this statement.

  9. Ignorance is a great thing! Waheed is obviously too ignorant to know anything about global warming. Most idiots bury their heads under the sand and ignore things that are too big for them. That has been his whole approach as the 'President' of the country. Ignore things and enjoy the ride. The only problem is, his ignorance reflects on all Maldivians and affects all maldivians.

  10. Simple rubbish from the traitor!
    I can see this guy dying many times before his death!
    I do wonder if this guy these days ever get a real "jazbaath"?

  11. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/25/drowning-nations-sea-level-rise_n_1783931.html

    The President is proving himself to be a self-confessed moron.

  12. Yes Mody, i agree the islands are made of coral, but unless you grow gills and learn to live and breath underwater it is of little use. Coral dies once out of water and does not sustain a proper foundation to build upon as it is made up of porous cells that turn to dust when pressure is applied......and you call yourself an educated man.


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