Government requests bids for Hulhumale’ bridge project

The Economic Ministry has announced the opening of a bidding process for a bridge to be built between Male and Hulhumale at a press briefing held at the President’s Office today.

“We are looking for a party to design, operate and maintain [the bridge]. This means commercial components will have to come with this,” said Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb this afternoon.

“That is how this will become sustainable. As you know, a bridge will not be sustainable in the Maldives if it relies solely on the traffic. So, this will come with commercial components. It will become a very big investment.”

An announcement calling for expressions of interest has been placed in the government gazette today, with offers requested for the building, maintenance and operation of the bridge linking the two largest urban areas in the Greater Male’ area.

Bids from domestic and international parties will be accepted until December 29.

Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed described the building of the bridge as a “challenge”, but said the task is one of the key pledges of the coalition government.

He wants bridge work to start as soon as possible, promising that when the concession is awarded, investors will not suffer damages, and that the project will receive “protection” from the Maldives constitution.

Investor confidence in the Maldives had been negatively impacted under the Presidency of Dr Mohamed Waheed.

The country’s largest ever foreign direct investment deal – the US$500million lease to re-develop Ibrahim Nasir International Airport – was unilaterally terminated by the government late last year.

Arbitration proceedings are continuing in Singapore, with Indian infrastructure giant GMR claiming US$1.4billion for “wrongful termination”.

Similarly, Malaysian firm Nexbis was given just two weeks to leave the country after the government terminated its deal to install and operate a border control system after the government suggested the MDP-brokered deal was causing “major losses” to the state.

The idea of a bridge linking connecting the islands of Male’ and Hulhumale’ – an artificially reclaimed island built to combat the rising population of Male  – was proposed during the presidency of Mohamed Nasheed in 2011.

The building of a bridge was to accompany the Veshi Fahi Male’ de-congestion programme – a flagship project of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government under its manifesto pledge to provide affordable housing.

The project was launched on November 10, 2010 to ease congestion in the capital and develop the Greater Male’ Region, consisting of Hulhumale’, Vili-Male’, Thilafushi industrial island and Gulhifalhu.

Following the ousting of Nasheed’s administration in February 2012, his successor President Mohamed Waheed announced it had been trying to get a US$150 million loan (MVR 2.31 billion) from Turkey’s Exim bank to fund the project.


8 thoughts on “Government requests bids for Hulhumale’ bridge project”

  1. I bet GMR is bidding. They know, they can earn money, in arbitration, when Maldives is involved. LOL

  2. If Maldives had spent all the energy, money and noise of the last 10 years trying to build the bridge, it could have been achieved.

    Maldives is now like India with all phoney freedoms and human rights of a democracy. But you cannot walk in Male

    Bridge and a livable city is a basic need. Democracy is a high level need. Don't mess up priorities

  3. A much needed connection between the two islands is MUCH needed and very much welcome.
    It will relief the housing pressure on Male and include Hulhumale as an equal alternative with a lot more space and housing projects.

    But a bridge.... with todays technology, i would rather suggest a submerged tunnel if the ground level and sea bed allows.

    Esthetically, Male and Maldives will maintain its image without a big cement construction between.
    .....just a thought 🙂

    But bids to be completed by 29 Dec!?
    Impossible - not enough time.

    What they can expect is interested contractors to sign up for meeting, excursions and discussions in a pre bidding process.

    Out of that, realistic bids and suggested design and project solutions can be presented.

  4. bridge will receive protection from the Maldives constitution? Really? How so? Can the Maldives show qualified justices who even understand the constitution? The Maldives constitution is a non existent piece of paper.

    Perhaps in another 100 years, there may be qualified people who understand how to interpret a constitution and practice law to an international standard.

  5. No........NO............ we can to protect our national asset, can't be allowed any international investment, but we welcome any Aid , like IGMH not GMR

  6. No one will build this in the Maldives, without all the money upfront because of past contracts.

    Not sure if we have a the few hundred million million required to get this moving. But Yameen is at least trying to implement manifesto.

  7. Maldives is a rentier society with feudalist loyalties of the poor guaranteed toward the aristocracy (aka loyalty to Islam), which control the lucrative tourist industry and by extension the government. The next level of class is the landowners of Male, who prosper on the labour of the poor (raajetherey), rents are on par which London and NY but with slum like living conditions.

    One good thing which may come from the bridge could be the easier access to Male proper, thus reducing the need to pay exorbitant rents. Also, combined with the expansion of the housing industry we could dare expect lower rents.

    Maybe when 80% of income does not go to pay rents, Maldivian people can look beyond survival and work toward an ambition higher than a cushy govt job or the dream of opening a travel agency or a dept store.

    The renters may be forced to work for a living too. Better educated than the unwashed raajethery, they may develop the strength of critical thinking and hopefully when faced with hardships of life they will no longer accept political corruption.

  8. This is a fantasy for Maldivians that may never happen. Evidence from the past decade which included 3 different administrations suggest that this is a very low priority.


Comments are closed.