Mayor: Next six months will transform Addu

Addu City Mayor Ali Nizar (R) at signing of the contract for the project to develop Gan International Airport on March 5, 2023. (Sun Photo/Adam Nisham)

Addu will see transformational changes in terms of development in the next six months, states the city’s mayor Ali Nizar.

He made the remark during the signing of the contract for the development of the Gan International Airport on Sunday.

Nizar said that Addu had long been a city where dreams of development remained unfulfilled, until now.

He said that USD 200 million of the line of credit granted by India was being invested solely on the development of Addu.

“Projects are being run in Addu enough for us to feel like there’s no longer any imbalance in income, economic development, and spending in Maldives,” he said.

Nizar said the biggest goal of the current administration is to develop an independent enough economy that the income the people of Addu earn goes straight into their own pockets.

“This huge spending on the development of infrastructure in Addu, is to build an independent economy on top of it. We will see a different Addu by the time the project is done,” he said.

Nizar said the project will also allow Addu to overcome the major challenges in developing tourism in the region.

“Addu has everything Maldives has to offer. We have a political history. We have a religious culture. We have a story to tell. We have places to show. We have places that you can’t see anywhere else in Maldives. We have land so huge you won’t see the likes of it anywhere else in Maldives. We have attractive dive points. I believe Addu has the most potential for tourism in Maldives,” he said.

The Gan airport project has been awarded to Renaatus, an Indian construction company.

The agreement was signed by Addu International Airport Company’s Managing Director Gais Naseer and Renaatus’ Chairman Selvasundaram Poosapan.

The project is being financed with a USD 17 million (MVR 272.2 million) loan from India’s EXIM Bank.

The Gan International Airport in Addu is set to be developed with a passenger terminal and facilities to serve 1.5 million passengers annually.

The facilities that will be developed under the project includes duty free shops, restaurants, lounges, a new control tower, fire station, cargo and cold storage facilities, as well as roads and parking areas.

The Gan International Airport has been described by the Economic Ministry as the main gate to southern Maldives, making the modernization and upgrade of the airport’s capacity and services crucial to the development of the region.