Thursday 9th Dec 2021
Dhivehi Edition
News Reports Sports Business
Finance minister Ameer

Greatest Obstacle to National Progress Is Dim-Wittedness of Some High-Ranking Govt Officials: MP Saeed

MP Mohamed Saeed (Maavah) has addressed Minister of Finance, Ibrahim Ameer, and stated that he should "speak less" and work on getting Velana International Airport's completed facilities operational.
MP Saeed made this statement in response to Minister Ameer's tweet in which he had characterised the handing over of the Airport to the Maldivian government from GMR, an Indian conglomerate, as a great economic crime.
Minister Ameer had said that taking the airport back from GMR was the single biggest obstacle to the country's progress and that it was the greatest economic crime committed in the country. Minister Ameer had claimed that the government had had to pay USD$ 270 million to GMR to get the airport back, and that the government had to take on the burden of developing the airport itself by taking on a USD$1 billion loan. The weight of the massive loan prevented the government from including essential costs in the National Budget.
Minister Ameer claimed that had GMR still had the aiport, the work would of developing the airport that is still ongoing would have ended in 2014 and the Maldives would have had received 6.7 million more tourists before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Ameer further complained about the lost job opportunities and shared his speculation that had GMR had the opportunity to finish developing the airport by 2014: the Maldives would have become a USD$ 10 billion economy.
Minister Ameer's comments have garnered much controversy; the latter months of the short-lived Nasheed administration had seen several protests due to the government's policy of privatization.
Responding to Minister Ameer's statements, MP Saeed had said that he was "worried" about the state of the Solih administration, and said that the greatest obstacle to national progress was the "dim-wittedness" of some high-ranking government officials.
He corrected Minister Ameer by stating that getting the airport back was a great benefit for the Maldivian people, and he called on the Minister to "speak less" and work on getting the airport facilities that had been completed operational.
Despite Minister Ameer's optimistic claims, GMR had not planned to build the 3.4km runway that had been opened in 2018. Likewise, the GMR management had not begun work on developing the airport's infrastructure when the airport was handed back to the Maldivian government. Former management-level employees of Velana International Airport opined that "no major project" would have been completed by GMR by 2014.
The airport, under the Yameen administration, was developed with the construction of a new 3.4km runway; launched with the landing of an A380 in the Maldives for the first time; and a sea-plane terminal. The 3.4km runway has not been used during the Solih administration, and much of the work that had begun in the previous administration are running behind schedule.