Addu City, Maldives – The largely delayed Hankede Integrated Tourism DevelopmentProject will finally become a reality, said mayor of Addu City Council Ali Nizar.
Nizar’s comment comes following a meeting held with Maldives Fund Management Corporation (MFMC), Bank of China, and China National Electric Engineering Company Limited (CNEEC), the company contracted by the Maldivian government to implement the project. Following the meeting, the parties also paid a visit to the Hankede area where the project is set to take place.
In his remarks, Nizar said that the project would be a historical one, and added that funds required for the project are also being secured. Giving assurance that the project would be fruitful, he said that while the AFCONS road development project is on going and will be working on separating Hankede via bridge, both AFCONS and Hankede Project would be carried out simultaneously.
“Site work will commence after all the arrangements are finalised. We’re expecting the project to be mobilised after finalising the design, which should take about two months,” Nizar said.
Stating that the people of Addu want the development of Hankede, Nizar assured that Addu City Council will do everything in its power to support the project.
Despite the confidence expressed by Addu City Council, concerns have been raised over the contract being awarded to CNEEC. According to the World Bank’s press release on October 28, 2020, CNEEC was sanctioned for 18 months along with another Chinese engineering company for fraudulent practices related to a project in Zambia.
Critics argue that the Maldives government should have taken into account the World Bank’s findings before awarding the contract to CNEEC.
In response to the concerns raised, a Maldives government official who wishes to remain anonymous told ‘The Times of Addu’ defending the governments decision to award the contract to CNEEC, stating that it was chosen through a competitive bidding process and that the company has a track record of delivering high-quality projects on time and within budget.
However, it remains to be seen how the USD 142.9 million dollar project funded by Bank of China on loan will be implemented and whether appropriate safeguards will be put in place to ensure transparency and governance.