180 waste bins donated by China handed over to HDC

The environment ministry has handed over 180 out of 200 waste bins donated by the Chinese government to the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) for use in Hulhumalé.

Speaking at a ceremony held at the HDC office today, environment minister Thoriq Ibrahim urged residents of Hulhumalé to make use of the bins and keep the beaches and roads of the reclaimed island clean.

The waste bins were handed to HDC under the ministry’s ‘Saafu Raajje’ waste management campaign.

HDC managing director Mohamed Siman said the state-owned company’s goal was to develop Hulhumalé as a “green city.”


Hulhumalé Central Park to be completed, land reclamation to begin next month

The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has revealed that Hulhumalé Central Park will be completed next month, while phase two of the island’s reclamation is also due to begin.

Speaking to local media, HDC Managing Director Suhail Ahmed said that the park – now under construction – will benefit the population of Hulhumalé

“God willing, we are aiming to finish construction of the park sometime next month. The park is believed to provide relaxed atmosphere for the people in Hulhumalé. We designed the park so that people could sit in the park,” said Suhail.

While a section of the main road in Hulhumalé has been blocked for its contruction, Suhail said that even after the park is completed, much of it would not be accessible to motorized vehicles.

Suhail also said that phase two of the Hulhumalé land reclamation project is also due to begin next month, with a dredging vessel from Belgium’s Dredging International company arriving in early January.

Sun Online reported that a US$30 million loan has been approved by the bank of Ceylon for the project which will see 240 hectares of land being reclaimed near Farukolhufushi.

Developing a ‘youth city’ in Hulhumalé with a population of 50,000 is a key aim of President Abdulla Yameen’s administration, with modern facilities and light industry designed to attract young persons from the atolls.


Bank of Ceylon to provide loans for reclaiming land in Hulhumalé

Bank of Ceylon (BOC) has decided to provide a lon of US$30 million to the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to reclaim land in the island of Hulhumalé.

HDC Chairman Hassan Ziyath has told local media that the agreement on the matter will be signed within the week.

He revealed that the loan will be paid back within a five year period at an interest rate of 8 percent. The bank is also offering a grace period of two years.

Ziyath stated that physical work to reclaim land in Hulhumalé will commence in early October. The work has been contracted to Belgian company Dredging International.


Dredging International NV awarded US$50 million Hulhumalé reclamation project

A US$50 million contract for dredging and reclamation work in Hulhumalé has been awarded to Belgian company Dredging International NV, the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has announced.

HDC revealed in a press release today that the letter of award to carry out the project was issued to the company yesterday (June 18) following discussions with the government.

“The project work will commence within a period of two months and the reclamation works is estimated to be completed within a period of seven months,” read the press release.

“It is estimated that the Hulhumalé Phase II reclamation and coastal protection work will be completed by the end of December 2015.”

Phase two of the Hulhumalé development project involves reclamation of 240 hectares of land “with a target population of 100,000 people,” HDC explained.

According to the corporation, development plans for the fully reclaimed artificial island includes residential developments, a business district and “commercial spine,” a light industrial park, a yacht maria and cruise terminal, a knowledge and technology park, a heritage island a tourism district.

“Both Hulhumalé Phase I & Phase II developments are planned in line with the government’s overall vision to bring sustainable youth related developments,” the press release noted.

HDC Managing Director Suhail Ahmed told local media this week that the government was seeking a loan from the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) to finance the second phase of the Hulhumalé development project.

Suhail said HDC was “going through the terms of the loan deal” and “assessing all conditions,” adding that the project would likely be state-financed.

“Youth village”

Phase two of the Hulhumalé development project was among five mega-projects pitched to international companies at an investor forum held last April in Singapore.

While the dredging project was “conditionally awarded” to Dredging International NV in July 2013, the company withdrew due to financial constraints.

According to the company’s website, Dredging International NV was established in 1974 and specialises in “the construction and development of harbours, artificial islands, estuarial dams, canals and inland waterways, dyke construction and reinforcement, beach replenishment and coastal protection, supply of dredged aggregates and salvage activities.”

Developing a ‘youth village’ in Hulhumalé with a population of 50,000 was a key campaign pledge of President Abdulla Yameen.

Speaking at an inauguration ceremony for a land reclamation project in Thulusdhoo last month, President Yameen said the government’s objective was to relocate people from small islands in the atolls to Hulhumalé.

Economic opportunities in small islands were limited due to their size and isolation, he added.

The government hoped youth from smaller islands would migrate to Hulhumalé as well as other islands selected for land reclamation, Yameen said.

In April, Yameen said the HDC’s development plans were being revised to achieve the new administration’s goals.

The vision for the youth city includes a “technopolis park” as well as entertainment and sports facilities, he said, in addition to facilities for the tourism and fisheries industries.

“The youth village will not involve only housing [projects]. It will also include other projects related to the youth village such as the creation of light industries to provide job opportunities, as well as arrangements for food and beverages required by modern youth and restaurant facilities for [fast food],” he said.

Yameen also revealed last month that the government planned to tender the the Malé–Hulhulé bridge project in early June.

“God willing, before the end of the first two weeks of June, we will tender the bridge project. With that, additional studies needed for the project – that is the direction and extent of ocean currents – will be undertaken by the party awarded the tender,” he explained.

In February, Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed pledged that the Malé–Hulhulé bridge project – which he described as “iconic for the whole region” – would be completed in two years.


Thai real-estate developer to withdraw from Hulhumale’ housing project

Thai newspaper The Nation has reported that Pruksa, Thailand’s largest real-estate developer, is withdrawing its investment in the Maldives after suffering a US$3.2 million loss.

In an interview last week with Pruksa CEO Thongma Vijitpongpun, The Nation reported that the company was pulling out of the Maldives after making losses of Bt (Thai Baht) 100million.

In 2010, Pruksa formed a joint venture agreement with the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), formerly the Hulhumale’ Development Corporation, to build over 1000 houses in Hulhumale’. That company, Pruksa-HDC Housing Pvt Ltd, began construction of the first phase of the project, consisting of around 180 units, in August 2010.

Mohamed Sharah, the Assistant Director of Corporate Affairs, Marketing and Business Development, was unable to confirm whether the company had withdrawn from the agreement. Sharah also acts as Pruksa’s Company Secretary in the Maldives.

“We have not been informed [of the decision], the work on the first phase still continues and will be completed by July,” said Sharah.

The first phase, explained Sharah, consisted of nine blocks containing 180 apartments, six of which have been completed, with four already having been handed over to customers. The first phase is scheduled for completion by July.

There were some initial problems with the quality of construction work on the first two of these buildings which caused some delays to the project while work was redone to the standards required by the quality control officer.

The 180 units were pre-sold in Maldivian rufiyaa before construction. In a previous interview with The Nation, a representative from Pruksa anticipated a profitable venture.

“We started to pre-book our project in the Maldives last month for the first phase of 180 units. Demand is for more than that amount and as a result we believe our presales in the Maldives will exceed our estimate,” the company’s Chief Business Officer was reported as saying in June 2010.

However, Sharah explained that this policy had “caused significant losses” for the company due to problems with the local currency.

“They have faced devolution of the currency and a shortage of dollars in the Maldives,” he added.

The price of rufiya at the time when most of the units were sold was pegged at Rf12.85 to the US dollar. However, in April 2011, the government made the decision to introduce a managed floatation of the currency. This decision allowed the rufiya to be traded within a 20percent margin of its previous rate. The result has been the devaluation of the currency to a rate of 15.42 to the US dollar – which still remains next to unexchangable outside the blackmarket, where rates can top Rf 17-18 to the dollar.

That problem is likely to continue after the government’s budget deficit was predicted to reach 27 percent of the country’s GDP in 2012, according to figures recently released by the Majlis Finance Committee.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s head of mission to the Maldives, Jonathan Dunn, recently told Minivan News: “As long as the government continues to inject substantial amounts of new spending into the economy, the foreign exchange situation in the country will not be resolved.”

The net result of Pruksa’s exposure to rufiya may account for the US$3.2 million losses the company CEO reported to The Nation.

HDC told Minivan News that 90 percent of the units were sold using the pre-booking system. The initial value of the apartments was reported to have been between Rf0.9million and Rf1.6 million.

The change in exchange rates in the period following these sales means that between US$1.8million and US$3.3million from Pruksa’s projected income may have been lost from the sale of these units alone.

During the same interview in The Nation, the CEO explained that the company was restructuring to a more profitable model, in part due to the losses suffered during last year’s flooding which afflicted much of Thailand.

However, it was mentioned that the company was considering expansion into the ASEAN nations of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Phillipines. The CEO also announced that projects in Vietnam and India, temporarily suspended in the first half of this year, would continue.

A representative of Pruksa in the company’s Bangkok office was unable to confirm the cessation of the company’s dealing in the Maldives. He did confirm that a representative of the company would be visiting the Maldives later this month, at which time more details would be made available.

The spokesperson was able to confirm that the most of the apartment sales took place 18 months ago and were transacted in rufiya.

“There were some problems with that,” the spokesman noted.

The Hulhumale’ project is regarded as the most ambitious urban development project in the history of the country. The reclamation of land and the internal migration of Maldivians to the island, which lies adjacent to the capital Male’, is seen as vital in the country’s long term plans for economic development of the nation and for the easing of congestion in the capital city.

“If Pruksa withdraws, the HDC will have to find new investment,” said Sharah.


Over 240 apply for 25 housing units in Feydhoo

Some 249 application forms for 25 housing units under construction in Feydhoo, Addu City, by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) have been submitted before yesterday’s deadline, reports Haveeru.

According to the department of business and youth development in Feydhoo, the forms are being evaluated to be sent to the Housing Ministry.

Under the points scheme for awarding the units, residents of Feydhoo aged 21 to 35 with no registered plots in the country will receive 10 points while those over 35 would receive 15 points. Applicants with three children or more receives 15 points while those with two children or less receive 10 points.

Down-payments for the units cost Rf30,000 while Rf4,500 is to be paid monthly over the course of 20 years.

Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year, according to HDC.


Alms registrations up by 1300

Registrations for alms at Ramadan are up by 1,300 this year in Male’, Haveeru reports.

Over 10,600 people are said to have registered as of Thursday, August 25. Alms will be distributed in Male’ on Sunday, August 28. This is one day earlier than the Islamic Ministry had originally planned.

Alms this year, or nisab, costed Rf53 per person for Basmati Rice, and Rf32 per person for Thailand Rice. Registered alms recipients can pick up their sum from the Islamic Centre in Male and the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) in Hulhumale between 1 and 3pm on Sunday.