Haidhar: Funds for Fushidhiggaru reclamation to be arranged despite weak economy

Housing Minister Dr. Ali Haidar speaks to press on November 20, 2023. (Infinite Moments/Mohamed Shathiu Abdulla)

Housing Minister Dr. Haidhar Ali, on Monday, said the new administration is planning ways to arrange funds for one of its biggest projects, Fushidhiggaru Falhu reclamation, despite the weak economic state of the nation and in this trajectory providing assurance that the project will proceed.

The Minister made the remark after Kelaa MP Ibrahim Shareef, at a parliamentary committee, posed a question, describing expenditure on huge projects as unfavorable at the moment in light of the weak economic state.

World Bank has cautioned the Maldives to manage state expenditure in light of the high debt levels.

Nevertheless, the state budget proposed for next year includes MVR 400 million for the Fushidhiggaru project.

Minister Haidhar, stressing it will be the government that plans how funds will be arranged for the development of the Fushidhiggaru, said foreign aid can be sought for the project, or investments can be made from revenue earned from projects.

The Minister, noting the future is considered with this project, said Fushidhiggaru will be a long-term project, developed over the course of 20 years, to achieve a long-term solution.

Development plan for Fushidhiggaru Falhu.

He detailed that the lagoon will be developed with all the necessary services in place in order to eliminate the need to travel to Male’.

“We have even said it will (be developed) under the 20-year plan. The population Male’ area will still increase. There will be births and there will be people migrating from one island to the other. As I believe, we cannot remain still after facilitating housing to just the current population,” he said.

Minister Haidhar added that the land use plan for Fushidhiggaru has already been drawn up.

Commencing the reclamation of Fushidhiggaru within one month of assuming office and completing the reclamation within one year’s time is an important electoral pledge of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

The government plans to allocate MVR 600 million in the state budget for 2025 for this project, and MVR 350 million in the state budget for 2026.