MP Amir: Selling foreigners land from industrial areas will kill small businesses

MDA's deputy leader and Kudahuvadhoo MP Ahmed Amir. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The long-term sale of land from industrial areas to foreigners will kill small and medium enterprises in Maldives, states Kudahuvadhoo MP and deputy leader of Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), Ahmed Amir.

The statement comes after Housing Development Corporation (HDC) released policies on issuance of land from the industrial area in Thilafushi last week. It allows for foreigners to be leased land for up to 99 years.

Amir told Sun on Tuesday he found the issue deeply concerning. Noting that Thilafushi houses a number of manufacturing businesses, Amir said he believes Maldivians should be issued land from the area for a small lease.

He said that selling land from the area to foreigners will create major challenges for SMEs.

“If foreign business magnates come here and do what Maldivian investors do, then they are done for, no? Won’t they die in the future? Therefore, this must not be done, for the sake of the future of Maldives,” he said.

Amir believes foreign investors must be sought solely for mega projects that Maldivian businesses do not have the capacity to conduct.

Allowing foreigners into the SME business will bankrupt Maldivian businesses, he said.

“We don’t complain when foreign investors come and get involved in the tourism sector, do we?” he said.

Amir said that most Maldivian business operators in Thilafushi were people who run their businesses out of small spaces and expand their business. He said that allowing foreign investors in Thilafushi will bankrupt and kill local SMEs.

HDC released its policies on issuance of land from the industrial area in Thilafushi last week. According to the policies, foreigners can be leased land for up to 99 years, while Maldivians can own the land.

The minimum bidding rate is MVR 1,700 per square foot.