Nasheed: Airport given to GMR to double Maldives’ economic growth

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed speaks to press on October 13, 2021. (Sun Photo/Ahmed Aiman Ali)

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed states that India’s GMR was handed over the management of Velana International Airport (VIA) during his administration with the goal of doubling Maldives’ economic growth. 

In a series of tweets last Sunday, Nasheed described the decision to seize VIA from GMR as a loss to the Maldivian economy. 

“The seizure of Velana International Airport from GMR and the government having to pay compensation is indebting the people. If the airport had been developed in accordance with the original plan, the burden the people bear today, and the economic burden, would be less,” he said.  

GMR was awarded a 25-year contract to manage VIA on November 25, 2012, during Nasheed’s administration. The contract was terminated on November 27, 2012, during President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik’s administration. 

Maldives had to pay USD 270 million as compensation for wrongful termination of the contract.

Nasheed’s comments regarding the GMR contract follows similar comments by Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer over the weekend. 

Ameer described the termination of the GMR contract as the greatest economic crime in Maldivian history. 

Ameer’s comments were criticized by PNC deputy leader, MP Adam Shareef Umar, who said that only government incapable of sustainable economic growth attempt to sell off the country’s assets.