Talks of debt is to hinder development: Minister Fayyaz

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail seen at the inauguration of the Hanimaadhoo International Airport expansion project. | Photo: President’s Office

Hanimaadhoo, Maldives – Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail has said that debt is being talked about for the purpose of hindering the development works of the government.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Hanimaadhoo Airport Development Project, Minister Fayyaz said the airport has been abandoned for a long time to catch up with the countries of the 21st century. The minister said he believes in the ability to do these things and is working with that in mind.

The Minister highlighted the various development projects being implemented by the government. These works have never been done by any government in the history of Maldives, he said.

Critics are repeatedly talking about debt to hinder the work of the government, he said. The minister noted that this is an obstacle.

” People come out and say debt is increasing and we are stealing, and that nothing happens, this is what happens as a result, the people who are supposed to finance these things, the people who are supposed to do these things and the people who invest in them are backing down,” he said. ” They don’t know what the political situation is like in the country,” he said.

The minister said that when it comes to foreign agencies and commercial banks to raise funds for government projects, things are delayed because of these talks. And this is a huge reason for the delay in addition to the COVID-19, he said.

Fayyaz said political rivals should criticize, but the people should ask whether it is the best way to fail the government and target the people’s dissatisfaction with the government.

He also responded to the opposition’s claims that the country is debt-ridden and is going bankrupt for four years now, and that the country will not even go bankrupt, God willing. He also questioned whether the government should wait for years without taking debt saying that development is coming.

Minister Fayyaz has said that he will continue to stand with President Solih and fulfill the dreams of the people.

While Fayyaz Ismail’s stance on government debt has changed in his role as the Minister of Economic Development, Minister Fayyaz and his party, MDP were highly critical of the former government for taking high volumes of loans from China for developmental projects.

During President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration, Maldives acquired loans amounting to USD 1.5 billion from China, as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Infrastructure Initiative, for building various infrastructure, including bridges and housing facilities .

According to media reports citing finance ministry data, Chinese loans to Maldivian state-owned companies backed by sovereign guarantees were estimated to total USD 935 million. Beneficiaries included the Housing Development Company, a state concern involved in a high-rise housing project. Beijing has reportedly lent another USD 600 million to the Maldivian government.