President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan yesterday opened the new head office of local telecommunications group Dhiraagu in Male’, a construction the company claims is the first its kind in the capital to be built to meet specific technical requirements.
President Waheed spoke at a special opening ceremony, playing up the importance of the country’s communications sector to wider development in the Maldives. He attended the ceremony alongside dignitaries including Minister of Economic Development Ahmed Mohamed.
Dhiraagu itself is one of the country’s largest service providers, dominating the internet and telecommunications sector alongside its main competitor, Wataniya.
According to the company, its new headquarters has been designed to comply with international safety standards, whilst also providing accessibility to wheelchair users and incorporating what it has called advanced energy saving and environmental friendly technologies.
These technologies include the use of 100 percent LED lights across the building, motion sensors, heat reflective glass and ozone friendly refrigerant within the office’s air conditioning units.
On the outside of the structure, Dhiraagu claims that a silver colour PVDF cladding has also been used over a highly reflective glass surface that serves to further reduce heat entry into the building.
Set up back in 1988, the company has said it presently employs over 600 staff across the Maldives, 99 percent of whom are said to be local workers. Dhiraagu’s leading shareholder is presently Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC).
CWC took a controlling stake in Dhiraagu in 2009 when former President Nasheed’s government sold 7 percent of its shares, giving the British-based firm a controlling stake in the company.
Then-opposition parties criticised the sale in local media, arguing that the acquisition of large stakes of domestic companies by foreign investors was bad for the country.
Similar arguments have been levelled against the development of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) by Indian company GMR, sparking fears that foreign firms will be deterred from investing in the Maldives.
CWC now controls 52 percent of Dhiraagu’s shares,with the government holding just under 42 percent as of March this year.