Government seeking $150 million loan for Male’ – Hulhule’ bridge

Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad has said the government is seeking a $150 million loan for the construction of a bridge between the islands of Male’ and Hulhule’, local media has reported.

Jihad was reported as saying that he will be travelling to Turkey, along with Housing Minister Dr Ahmed Muizzu and senior Finance Ministry officials to continue discussions with Turkey’s Exim bank to obtain the loan.

“We are presently in discussion with Turkey’s Exim bank to obtain a $150 million loan for this project. The decision has been made to travel to Turkey for this purpose, but the loan is not yet confirmed,” Jihad was quoted as saying in Sun Online.

“This is a very important project. We have detailed plans, which we will present to them.”

According to local media, the decision to build the bridge was made in December 2011 in order to find a solution to the problem of congestion in Male’.


EXIM Bank of China offers US$57 million loan for IT infrastructure overhaul

The state-owned EXIM Bank of China has offered the Maldives a US$57 million (RF878 million) loan to assist the development of IT infrastructure in the country, Minister of Communication Dr Ahmed Shamheed had told local media.

Dr Shamheed yesterday confirmed that the funding, which can be paid back over a 20 year period, would still require approval by the People’s Majlis under next year’s budget. If approved, he told local newspaper Haveeru that the “majority” of the loan would be spent on building a new 15-storey government office designed partly to house new national IT projects.

Shamheed was not responding to calls from Minivan News at the time of press.

Speaking yesterday, the communication minister claimed that projects including the introduction of so called “smart cards” – proposed as an all-in-one driver’s license, identity and an ATM card – and a high definition (HD) video conference network would be set-up with the loan.

Shamheed told Haveeru that the projects would be undertaken by the Centre for Information Technology (NCIT), as part of wider plans to connect government authorities through a single IT network.


Parliament to deliberate 2012 loan scheme

Parliamentary Finance Committee has approved loans to be borrowed and loan guarantees proposed by the government for 2012 “as a policy”.

Parliament will decide on the matter.

The committee’s report highlights missing information, and asks the government to provide every detail of the loans before borrowing or providing a guarantee, reports Haveeru.

The borrowings summary provided with the 2012 budget indicates the government intends to borrow over US$358 million (Rf5.5 billion) next year.

Foreign loans will be allocated for budget support, construction of Addu Hospital and support for middle-income businesses, fishing and agriculture.

Local loans will go towards the construction of Maldivian Education Fund’s 10-storey building.

The highest loan is valued at US$150 million, which is to be borrowed from China’s Exim Bank.


ACC approves India-backed housing project

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has allowed the government to proceed with a 500-unit housing project in Gaaf Dhaal atoll Thinadhoo and Male. Indian contractor OII will oversee the project.

The ACC had asked the government to halt the project on Thursday after receiving public complaints about the bidding process. Its investigation, however, found no acts of corruption and has approved the project.

The project is funded by a US$40 million loan provided by India’s EXIM Bank, which requires that the project is made open for Indian contractors only. Six Indian companies had submitted bids.

Under the project, housing units will be built at the Maafannu Boduge land plot, the former VTC land plot located on Alikilegefaanu Magu, and the land plot where debris is dumped.