MTCC to purchase US$36 million dredger

The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) has revealed plans to purchase a US$36 million land reclamation dredger, reports local media.

According to Vnews, the purchase of the dredger would make it the biggest and most expensive to be operated locally in the Maldives.

MTCC CEO Ibrahim Abdul Razzaq told Vnews that the dredger is a ‘hopper suction dredger’, which would be capable of reclaiming one hectare in just two days.

“This is an investment to ease the land reclamation projects done in the Maldives,” said Ibrahim. “We are currently talking with Holland’s IHC Company regarding the purchase, the dredger will be designed to be suitable for Maldives.”

Source: Vnews


Hulhumalé reclamation to cost US$22 million less than expected, says Tourism Minister

The second phase of the Hulhumalé land reclamation project will cost US$ 22 million less than expected and will now amount to US$50 million, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb has said.

Speaking to Haveeru, Adeeb said the cost of the project had been reduced after President Abdulla Yameen held direct discussions with the dredging companies. Land reclamation began last night (January 10).

“Reclaiming the land and the revetments will now be completed at US$50 million after ceaseless effort by President Yameen. He held many discussions with the current contractor Belgium Dredging International to bring the price down,” said Adeeb.

Adeeb said Yameen had secured the US$30 million loan from Bank of Ceylon to finance the project.

Hulhumalé phase one reclamation saw 188 hectares of land reclaimed to house a population of 60,000, while the second phase aims to house 100,000 residents.


President Yameen announces land reclamation project for Addu Feydhoo

President Abdulla Yameen announced last night that a land reclamation project would commence next year in the Feydhoo ward of Addu City.

Speaking at a ceremony held in Feydhoo to inaugurate a road construction project, President Yameen said construction of the Rahdhebai Magu “will greatly assist the island’s residents, while paving the way for further development projects in Feydhoo,” according to the President’s Office.

President Yameen was accompanied by First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb during his visit to the southernmost atoll.

A by-election for a vacant seat in the six-member Addu City Council is meanwhile scheduled to take place on September 20.

The election comes after Addu City councillor for the Feydhoo constituency, Abdulla Aswan, died of a heart attack on July 8.

All six seats of the city council were won by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party candidates in January’s local council elections.

Speaking at a meeting in Feydhoo last night, President Yameen reportedly criticised the city council over a stalled project to install lights at the Feydhoo football stadium.

The project remained stalled due to a disagreement between councillors, Yameen claimed, calling on the council to cooperate with the government’s development efforts despite political differences.

“If something else is beneficial [to the public], they don’t have to consider the ideology of a political party. They should do it the way the public wants,” he was quoted as saying by newspaper Haveeru.

Yameen urged the people of Feydhoo to vote for ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate for the Feydhoo council seat, Ena Naseer.

The Feydhoo branch of PPM handed over membership forms of 100 new members to First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim at last night’s meeting.

The opposition MDP meanwhile selected Ali Fahmy Ahmed as its candidate to face the by-election in a primary last month.

Speaking at a press conference today, MDP MP for Addu Meedhoo, Rozaina Adam, accused President Yameen of attempting to unduly influence the upcoming by-election by launching or announcing development projects in Feydhoo.

Referring to pro-government MPs rejecting an urgent motion in parliament over power outages in Addu City, Rozaina questioned the president’s sincerity and commitment to develop the city.


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.


Development and environment protection should go together, says President Yameen

Economic development and protection of the environment should go in tandem to ensure sustainable development, President Abdulla Yameen has said.

In a message on the occasion of World Environment Day, President Yameen said the Maldives’ environment and ecosystems have been adversely affected by some development efforts.

“Therefore, we have to pay more attention to this. And we have to ensure that development and protection and sustenance of the environment go together. That is how sustainable development can be achieved,” he said.

“Doubtless the development that all our citizens want is intertwined with this.”

The current administration has come under fire from local environmental groups following environmental damage caused by a US$37 million four-island reclamation project carried out by Royal Boskalis Westminster.

The Netherlands-based maritime infrastructure company was accused of mining sand from the country’s only UNESCO biosphere reserve in Baa Atoll as well as failing to build a barrier to prevent excess dredge soil from spilling onto the reef in Baa Atoll Eydhaushi Island.

In the two islands where reclamation was completed, houses and vegetation on the shorelines were also covered in fine mixture of sand and salt due to the use of the “rainbow technique” which propels soil into the air.

Climate change

President Yameen meanwhile referred to the findings of the second working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and called for timely action to address climate change.

“The quantity and quality of water resources are being affected. Climate ‎change is negatively impacting crop yields as well. Impacts from recent climate-‎related extremes reveal significant vulnerabilities and expose some ecosystems ‎and many human systems to current climate vulnerability,” Yameen said.

“At the forefront of ‎those facing the effects of climate change are communities living in the world’s ‎low-lying regions and small island states.”

Referring to the theme of this year’s Environment Day – “Raise Your ‎Voice, Not the Sea Level” – President Yameen welcomed the special focus ‎which will be afforded to small island nation states such as the Maldives.

The president noted that the United Nations has designated 2014 as the ‎International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDs). ‎

Yameen also paid tribute to the climate change advocacy efforts of of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who he said brought the threats posed by sea level rise to global attention in the late 1980s.

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon also emphasised the need to take concrete action to avert climate catastrophe.

A Foreign Ministry press release today said that the minister expressed hope that key international conferences this year would successfully take into account the vulnerability of SIDs.

The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States will be held in Samoa in September, while the negotiations of a new climate treaty at the Meetings of States Parties of the UNFCCC will also take place in 2014, detailed the release.

The press statement noted that the IPCC’s latest report has “proven that climate change is neither just an environmental issue nor a scientific thesis, but is of a question of the survival of each and every nation around the planet, irrespective of its size.”

“The minister also reiterated that the Maldives continues to be in the front line while refusing to remain a victim, and have been an agent of change in addressing environmental issues,” it added.

“The Maldives is currently in the process of developing a low carbon development strategy which paints a promising picture not only for the nation but the world. Internationally, the Maldives has led efforts to emphasise the links between human rights and climate change, as well as the plight of small states.”

In his message, Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim meanwhile noted that 23 percent of the Maldives’ GDP was spent on importing fossil fuels and stressed the importance of developing sources of renewable energy.

The Environment Ministry commenced its programme to mark the World Environment Day with a tree planting event in front of the Male’ Sports Complex.

Other events planned by the ministry include the publication of reports for energy saving in schools, a photography exhibition, a film festival, and a clean up event in Malé.


President Yameen urges ACC to expedite investigations involving government projects

President Abdulla Yameen has urged the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to expedite investigations involving infrastructure projects worth “hundreds of millions of rufiyaa” as the government is facing losses due to delays.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony for a land reclamation project in the island of Thulusdhoo in Kaafu atoll this morning, President Yameen appealed to the ACC to complete investigations as soon as possible in order to enable the government to resume projects halted at the commission’s orders.

“When these big projects are halted, the preliminary investigation or assessment should be completed within a certain period,” he said.

“For example, if work on the IGMH [Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital] building is stopped more than once because of problems involving corruption, it is our request for the Anti-Corruption Commission to do it in a way that does not [stall the project].”

He added that the new building was necessary for the government to provide better services from the main tertiary hospital in the capital.

“Doubtless there might be matters that could facilitate corruption in that project. But that is not something our government would encourage or do,” he said.

If the commission suspected corruption, Yameen said that his administration would comply with ACC instructions to halt projects pending an investigation and welcome the findings.

Yameen stressed the importance of the commission’s determining a “timeline” for investigations.

The ACC has told the state broadcaster, however, that the commission has always endeavoured to complete investigations as quickly as possible in order to avoid losses to the public and the government.

The commission noted that recurring problems hindering investigations included having to provide a legally-mandated period for accused parties to respond to allegations after seeking legal counsel, as well as difficulties in obtaining relevant documents from state institutions.

The commission also insisted that it has always shown a way to continue with halted projects, which was also the case with the new IGMH building.

In March, the ACC ordered a halt to the construction of the new IGMH building by Amin Construction Pvt Ltd for a second time following complaints alleging that the renegotiated contract was MVR16 million in excess of the budgeted amount.

President Yameen has meanwhile said that his administration would not pursue corruption investigations against officials of the previous government.

He added, however that the government would not interfere with the work of the auditor general or the ACC.

On the project launched today to reclaim 33 hectares of land in Thulusdhoo, Yameen noted that island would double in size at the completion of the project.

“We are creating an asset. An asset is something you have to make full use of. If not, it could be lost and become worthless,” he said.

The new land would create economic opportunities and allow the government to provide housing for residents of Thulusdhoo, he said.

Projects for the construction of a harbour as well as water and sewerage in Thulusdhoo will begin this year, the president pledged.

Yameen also reiterated his call to both the public and local councils to put aside political differences and cooperate with the government’s implementation of development projects.


President Yameen inaugurates land reclamation project in Meedhoo

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom inaugurated a land reclamation project on the island of Meedhoo in Dhaalu atoll on Sunday.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Yameen said he visited the island with a gift for its residents, noting that the people of Meedhoo have been waiting for over 20 years for such development projects.

President Yameen asserted that the Maldives could be developed using available resources, according to the President’s Office.

Yameen urged the people of Meedhoo to utilise the reclaimed land for economic and social purposes.

The current administration would endeavour to ease economic difficulties faced by the public, he added.

The project was awarded to the Nederland’s Boskalis International company to reclaim 17.5 hectares of land and set up 485 metres of revetment in Meedhoo.

Boskalis has also been contracted by the government to reclaim land in Baa Eydhafushi, Dhaalu Kudahuvadhoo, and Kaafu Thulusdhoo.

President Yameen also pledged to make ambulance services available across the country before the end of August. He noted that the project would be funded from savings made from the state budget through cost-cutting and economising.

The Meedhoo constituency is represented in parliament by MP Ahmed ‘Sun’ Siyam Mohamed, leader of the Maldives Development Alliance, a coalition partner of the ruling Progressive party of Maldives.


Audit uncovers illegal expenditure by Works Corporation

The audit report of the Works Corporation Ltd (WCL) for 2011 has exposed allegedly corrupt practices at the 100 percent government-owned company.

In a press release issued with the report (Dhivehi), the Auditor General’s Office stated that its audit uncovered numerous violations of the law as well as “problems related to performance and governance.”

Since the corporation did not compile its financial statement for 2011, as mandated by its charter and the Company’s Act, the press release noted that auditors reviewed selected transactions of the WCL.

The WCL was created by the administration of former President Mohamed Nasheed on March 25, 2009 to facilitate or carry out infrastructure projects.

Of the 34 projects awarded to the company in 2010 and 2011, the audit found that the government canceled 24 after the WCL failed to commence work.

“The government awarded the projects without adequate planning and without assessing the company’s capability to carry out the work,” the press release stated.

As the company had completed only one infrastructure project to date, the Auditor General’s Office suggested that the WCL had not served the purpose for which it was formed.

Managing director

Auditors discovered that the company’s managing director withdrew MVR180,000 (US$11,673), ostensibly to cover expenses for assisting the President’s Office in preparations for a ceremony held in Gulhifalhu.

While the company’s employees actively participated in the preparations, the report noted that the sum was withdrawn without any documentation proving the actual cost borne by the WCL.

Although the audit report did not identify the managing director, local media has revealed that the WCL MD in 2011 was Abdulla Javid ‘Jaa’, son-in-law of the then-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik.

Auditors also found that MVR146,999 (US$9,533) was transferred to the MD’s personal bank account to purchase a “total station” containing special tools from Singapore’s Tepcon Posting Sales Pvt Ltd.

However, the company had received neither the tools nor the transferred amount as of the report’s publication date.

Moreover, the WCL did not recover 14 sheet piles provided in May 2011 to Heavy Load Maldives Pvt Ltd, which was owned by the MD’s father-in-law MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa.

The WCL’s staff informed auditors that the 40-feet sheet piles were released after the MD called the deputy manager at the company’s Thilafushi site and instructed him to do so.

The audit report revealed that on the orders of the MD the WCL also provided electricity from its Thilafushi site to the Yacht Tours Maldives’ site on the industrial island.

Yacht Tours Maldives – owned by MDP MP Abdulla Jabir – had not paid WCL for 37,376 units of electricity used from December 28, 2010 to October 1, 2012, the audit found.


The WCL awarded 12 projects worth MVR198.6 million (US$13 million) to various parties in violation of the company’s procurement rules, the audit found.

The company’s procurement procedures manual stated that contracts worth MVR1.5 million (US$97,276) or higher must be awarded through the Finance Ministry’s tender evaluation board.

However, the audit noted, the 12 projects were awarded without either a bidding process or the involvement of the tender evaluation board.

An Indian company – identified as MM Export Pvt Ltd – contracted to supply reinforcement boulders was paid MVR2.7 million (US$175,097) in violation of the procurement rules as well as the WCL’s agreement with the company.

In another instance, a Sri Lankan company named Sri Krithika International was paid in excess of the stipulated amount for supplying construction material after the company imported a higher volume than was agreed upon.

Moreover, the WCL failed to recover MVR1.7 million (US$110,246) paid to Design-built Solutions Pvt Ltd as an advance payment for the Noonu Velidhoo harbour project despite termination of the agreement after the company did not commence work.

In a similar case, a company named Coastal Ventures Pvt Ltd was paid MVR5 million (US$324,254) for the construction of a harbour in Raa Fainu despite the company only completing a portion of the project.

As the portion completed by the company was worth MVR2.9 million (US$188,067), the audit noted that the company was paid MVR2.1 million (US$136,186) for work not done.

The report also contended that the WCL prioritised the interests of subcontractors in drafting agreements to the detriment of the company.

Auditors discovered that the company was owed MVR134,055 (US$8,694) in unpaid rentals and sale of equipment.

The WCL also misused a MVR50 million (US$3.2 million) stand-by credit facility provided by the Indian government to establish a sewerage system in Noonu Miladhoo and to construct a harbour in Noonu Kudafari.

Interest for the loan was rising as a result of the WCL failing to make regular payments, the report noted.

Meanwhile, as a result of poor record keeping, auditors were unable to ascertain the amount of money kept in the WCL safe when it was stolen in 2011.

While the company’s accounting systems showed that it was owed MVR22.5 million (US$1.5 million) from various parties, the audit report noted that the company’s financial book-keeping was too unreliable to establish the validity of the figure.

Similarly, auditors could not verify whether the MVR60.7 million (US$4 million) owed by the WCL for procurements and services was authentic.

The company also paid its chairman more than MVR600,000 (US$38,910) as a “special allowance” from June 2009 to February 2012 against the pay scheme for board members of state-owned enterprises.

Moreover, the company’s hiring and firing practices as well as promotions for staff contravened its “employment, benefits and salary policy.”

Lastly, the WCL had not maintained a registry of its assets since April 14, 2010, auditors found.