Former govt. gave an Indian company to construct Sh. Atoll Airport: Minister Fayyaz

Economic Minister of Maldives, Fayyaz Ismail | Photo: Raajje MV

Shaviyani Atoll, Maldives — Economic Minister, Fayyaz Ismail has stated that the former government of Maldives the project to construct Shaviyani International Airport was given to an Indian Company.

Speaking at the press conference held last night, Minister Fayyaz said that in 2017, they noticed that the Economic Ministry of Maldives had signed an agreement with an Indian company “Oliala India Limited” allowing the company to construct an International airport in Shaviyani Atoll.

Minister Fayyaz revealed that there is also an MoU signed by the former Regional Airports Department and the former Economic Minister had registered a foreign investment company that shows proof of the event.

However, Minister Fayyaz informed that he has stopped that agreement, noting that the former government had tried to give an airport of Maldives to a foreign company.

Minister Fayyaz assured the concerned citizens of Maldives that the incumbent government currently has no plans of giving the airports of Maldives to foreign people, however, as the country is low on budget, the government is intending to receive certain investments for new airports.

The state does not have the money to [develop airports] immediately. As people need development, it will be much more profitable to do it now than do it after collecting enough money after 20 years.

Economic Minister, Fayyaz Ismail

Minister Fayyaz stated this at a time the public has been criticizing the government for changing the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy allowing 100% foreign companies to operate the airports in Maldives.

The previous FDI policy stated that transport services can be given to 75% foreign companies for a maximum of five years. However, the amendment gazetted by the Economic Ministry yesterday read that 100% foreign companies with no Maldivian shares can operate the airports of Maldives.

The conditions required for foreign companies to operate Maldivian airports is with a USD 5 million worth investment and to get the permission of the government.

Along with this, the new amendment of FDI also states that air transport services in Maldives, excluding freight services, can be invested by foreign companies with 100% shares as well.