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To Invest Or Not: GMR Fiasco At Hands Of Yameen & Friends Leave Indian Investors Nervous, Non-Committal

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At the lavish Ashoka Palace in the Indian capital New Delhi, visuals of clear turquoise water, white beaches, exciting under-water experience and boduberu dance set the mood for the delegates of over 400 companies who were here to attend the third edition of Maldives Investment Forum on Tuesday.

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Government in its keynote address tried to recapture the confidence of Indian investors as apprehension was running high due to the abrupt termination of international contract with GMR Infrastructure Ltd.

Government said they were ready to promote a transparent, hassle-free and liberal trading and investment environment and will welcome investment from India with open arms. ” The government is committed to change its legal framework to allow trade and investment to diversify economy and there has been massive progress on the infrastructure front,” Vice President Abdulla Jihad said.

“I want to assure all potential investors that Maldives is open for business. It is open 24 hours,” he added.

Even though the delegates looked impressed and were confident about the potential of doing business in the Maldives, the GMR fiasco held them back from committing immediately.

“No doubt, the Maldives looks like a dream destination for doing business. But, I would like to know more about the legal and bilateral aspects before we move forward,” said a delegate while looking at his info kit on investing in the Maldives

Another delegate who was here to explore the possibilities of investing in telecom services said, “It is very important to have a set up where we can feel secure about investing money in a certain project. Let’s see how it rolls.”

The concern over providing a conductive environment to do business in the Maldives also appeared in Indian newspapers. A leading Indian business paper Mint wrote, “The memory of the Maldives government abruptly terminating a India-Malaysia joint venture for modernising the Male airport in 2012 saw Indian industry seeking greater predictability and protection for investments in the Maldives… The cancellation of the deal had soured ties between India and the Maldives.”

Last month, GMR won a lawsuit over termination of contract to run Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).  In a major embarrassment, government was ordered to pay USD 250 million to Indian infrastructural company GMR by a 3-member Singaporean Arbitration Tribunal in its final order.

The third edition of the investment forum was held in partnership with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to seek investments in infrastructural development, airport expansion and various other sectors to boost job creation in the country.

Jihad also announced that the country will sign its first free trade agreement early next year to boost trade and cooperation with other countries.

“It is investment, both foreign and domestic that has transformed our economy and elevated to current position. On the strength of our past achievements, the government is looking into new investments and is actively seeking foreign direct investment as it is one of the fundamental driving forces of Government policies,” he added.

The annual Maldives Investment Forum was held in Singapore in 2014 and in Beijing last year. The next edition of the forum will be held in Doha, Qatar.

Maldives Investment Forum 2016 Becomes ‘Hail Yameen’ Conference

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The third edition of Maldives Investment Forum was all praise of President Abdulla Yameen by his cabinet ministers – Vice President Abdulla Jihad and Economic Development Minister Mohamed Saeed – as they tried to garner the interest of investors in the Indian capital New Delhi on Tuesday.

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The annual forum to tap the potential of the Maldives’ tourism and infrastructure sector in the international market was started under the presidency of Abdulla Yameen in 2014 in Singapore followed by Beijing in 2015.

Here are top 5 mentions of President Abdulla Yameen at the high-profile investment forum:

  • GDP has grown with double digit under the leadership of President Yameen in last three years
  • We have seen the trust for President Yameen’s economic policies. We are seeing the results of our efforts
  • Far-sighted policies of President Yameen has narrowed down fiscal deficit in the country
  • President Yameen has eased monetary policies leading to increased credit availability for the private sector and have lowered inflation
  • President Yameen’s government promotes a transparent, hassle-free and liberal trading and investment environment and believes in strong, predictable and transparent commercial regime is critical for private sector led growth

My President Is A Respected Economist, Says Maldivian Economic Development Minister In New Delhi!!!!

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“President Yameen is a respected economist…,” this is how Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed introduced his president at Maldives Investment Forum in the Indian capital New Delhi on Tuesday.

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“President Abdulla Yameen is a respected economist under whose governance GDP and per capita income have improved, ” he went on to add while facing uncomfortable questions from reporters on the sidelines of the event.

However, the qualifications of Yameen – infamous as an increasingly autocratic President – are bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Public Policy, not exactly good enough to hail him as an economist!

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And off late, Yameen has been accused of large-scale money-laundering and muzzling political voices with his strong arm tactics and misuse of the local courts.

But Saeed insisted that “he (Yameen) is a well-informed leader who is focused on  bringing social harmony through development and job creation” while avoiding pointed questions on eroded international image of his country.

The interaction with the reporters in New Delhi during the Maldives Investment forum came across as another embarrassment as ministers in the Yameen’s cabinet jump from one faux pax to another.

While asked about the corruption charges facing President Yameen, Saeed’s response came from a scripted note, which had no relation to the questions being asked to the minister.

Speaking on similar lines as his boss Yameen, Saeed also expressed the government’s collective desire to make the Maldives the next Singapore (interestingly something that Yameen’s half-brother and mentor Maumoon Gayoom does not approve!)

“We are not comparing the Maldives to Singapore… but it does translate into the desire to look up to Singapore,” Saeed said while he pitched for greater investment in the Maldivian tourism and infrastructure.

Contrary to the reports of World Bank that the Maldivian economy had slowed down in 2015 and  figures on fiscal deficits and public debt were sobering, Saeed claimed that in Yameen’s three-year tenure there was a steady growth in GDP and public debt has been fixed.

Debt-Ridden Govt To Pay USD 250 Mn To GMR Over Termination Of Airport Contract

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Maldives government has been ordered to pay USD 250 million to Indian infrastructural company GMR by a 3-member Singaporean Arbitration Tribunal in its final order over illegal termination of contract to run Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).

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The court ordered government to pay USD 208 million in damages with interest which amounted to approximately USD 250 million, Maldives Attorney General Mohamed Anil was quoted as saying by the Sun Online.

“The compensation covers the debt, equity invested in the project along with a return of 17% and also termination payments and legal costs. The compensation is net of taxes that GMIAL may be required to pay in the Maldives,” the company said, according to an Indian newspaper.

Maldivian government under the then President Mohamed Waheed terminated USD 500 million GMR contract on November 27, 2012 alleging legal and national security implications following which the company moved a plea to the international tribunal for award of damages and  loss of reputation due to abrupt termination of the contract.

GMR had won the contract for 25 years through competitive global bidding process and the agreement was signed on June 28, 2010 under ex-President Mohamed Nasheed’s government.

Problems for GMR began when it decided to levy USD 27 for Airport Development Charge (ADC) and insurance charge, which was struck down by a civil court. The company had called the decision “unlawful and premature” and said the notice was devoid of any locus standi, as quoted by The Hindu.

The contract to expand and maintain the international airport was then given to Chinese company Beijing Urban Construction Group and which was later awarded to in May this year.
Saudi Arabia, known as one of the closest friend’s of the Maldives, also granted the single largest loan of USD 100 million to the to the expansion of INIA in September this year.
Government is already facing highest deficit at 14.4 per cent, highest deficit since 2010, according to World Bank which warned in May that the Maldives is at risk of external debt distress and public debt could rise from 73 per cent of GDP or USD 693.7 million to 120 per cent of GDP by 2020 owing to large infrastructure projects.

Prez Yameen’s Anti-Terror Policy Passed By Committee: All You Need To Know

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An 11-member committee formed on Tuesday has passed the President’s paper on counter terrorism and violent extremism. The committee that included MPs from all the parties passed the policy as it was proposed.

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In June, amid the rising number of Maldivians getting radicalised and increased number of gang fights, President Abdulla Yameen had come up with a policy to counter such incidents.

“The Paper was submitted because of the gravity of the issue, and its possible impact on national security and the safety of the Maldivian people. Further, the President recognizes that terrorism and violent extremism is a global issue without boundaries, impacting on the powerful and weak alike.” President’s Office had said while releasing the paper.

President Yameen had mulled for urgent, additional and stronger measures to deal with such incidents and a few amendments in the legal framework.


All You Need To Know About The Counter Terrorism Policy


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  • The government promised “swift measures” against Maldivians involved with terrorist organizations as it draws flak from rights bodies for allegedly facilitating radicalization.
  • The seven-page policy paper aims at taking “a central and active role” internationally, strengthen national security, and conduct de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programmes.
  • Defence Minister Adam Shareef Umar acknowledged that a “limited number” of Maldivian men has travelled to fight in “various overseas conflicts.”
  • As per the policy paper, the government is in the process of formulating a national counter-terrorism strategy, developing a legislative framework on national security, and conducting programmes to safeguard the tourism industry and critical infrastructure.
  • The paper says measures are also being taken to “understand and address social issues stemming from terrorism and violent extremism” and to “prevent conceivable threats to national security from foreign nationals entering the Maldives.”
  • The government, in its document, has acknowledged that identifying individuals who participate in such overseas civil conflicts is, in its nature, an arduous task, and that more work needs to be done to strengthen identification and investigation processes.
  • However, the opposition claims over 250 Maldivians are currently fighting abroad, accusing President Abdulla Yameen of facilitating militancy.
  • The government denies the charge, saying the opposition is exaggerating the problem.

MDP Refutes Police’s Claims, Says Sought Permission From Ministry To Hold Maahefun

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The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party has refuted claims of Maldives Police Service that they did not take prior permission from the authorities to organise  “Maahefun”- pre-Ramadan feast- on a street of Male.

MDP claimed that it had sent a letter seeking permission from the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure on May 29 to hold the feast outside their office between 8 pm to 11.30 pm on Friday.

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They have also sent a copy of the letter to police, the Election Commission and the Human Rights Commission.

Maldives Police Service had disrupted “Maahefun” on Friday stating that they did not take prior permission from the authorities to organise such event on the street.

Police had also said that the party was advised not to hold the event as they had not taken permission from Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure. According to new rule by the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure, any gathering on the streets of Male is prohibited without required permission.

However, MDP did not clarify whether they were granted permission to hold the event on Friday.

MDP had organised the pre-Ramadan feast in front of their office. Police intervened and allegedly threw away their food on the streets around 8.45 pm creating huge controversy.

The MDP members ate their food in standing as a sign of protest and also called out for President Abdulla Yameen’s resignation and arrest.

The crackdown by police took Twitter by storm and people started putting up pictures and videos of the incident.


Some of them also questioned police presence in disrupting MDP’s get-together while two young boys were being stabbed in the other parts of Male’ at the same time.

Sri Lankan Firm To Build Maldives Apartments For Rs 12 Billion

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A Sri Lankan construction firm has been awarded a contract to develop luxury apartments and a mall for Rs. 12 billion in Hulhulemale’ in the Maldives.

Maldives Construction Project

  • Coral Property Developers Chairman, Dr. Praba Subramanian, said that the project awarded to them has been branded as Y Coral Luxury Apartment and Mall.
  • It takes just 20 minutes to reach Hulhumale’, a reclaimed island, from Male’ on a boat.

Subramanian said Y Coral will be developed as three separate podiums with towers in each of them with a maximum height of 12 floors and Arcade frontage in each.

  • This is by far the biggest construction project ever to be awarded to a Sri Lankan firm.
  • Besides, the company is currently building a high riser luxury apartment complex in Colombo in Jaffna.
  • “We have already obtained a 70 perch land in Stanley Road Jaffna and would start construction by the end of the year,” Subramanian said.
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