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

in News/Politics by

“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.

saeed


“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).

gmr

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.

Subsidy Cut In Staple Food Stirs Majlis

in Mas-Huni Brief by

The People’s Majlis was stirred with the controversy of subsidy cut in staple food after the floor of the house opened after a recess of one month.

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  • The decision to subsidies from October 1 doubled the prices of staple food overnight
  • All 52 MPs voted in favour to debate the price hike calling it national concern
  • PPM MPs also criticised the government for the abrupt decision to hike prices
  • A few defended the move saying that 40 per cent of beneficiaries of subsidies are expatriates
  • Some MPs citing World Bank and IMF recommendations hailed President Yameen for unpopular decision for the good of the economy
  • Opposition MPs lashed out at the government over the cut and raised issue of stolen money in the MMPRC corruption scandal

Read full story at Maldives Independent

MUO’s Date With Ruling BJP In India, To Brief On Increasing Islamic Radicalisation Under Prez Yameen

in News/Politics by

The Maldives United Opposition, the rainbow coalition or the coalition-in-exile- which has come together to against the “dictatorial” regime of President Abdulla Yameen spent their first day in the Indian capital to make their point to the media.

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The second day, though, is where the real political dialogue begins, and where else to make a start but for the ruling party in power in India. So, they have a date with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday where they meet General Secretary and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) point person Ram Madhav with a hope to enlighten the current government on the increasing Islamic radicalisation in the Maldives and the overt Chinese engagement with the present regime in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

The eight-member delegation of the shadow cabinet of Maldives United Opposition (MUO), which is on a three-day visit, will also brief the BJP leader the abuse of human rights in the country. “We are meeting Ram Madhav and other leaders of the BJP to seek greater Indian engagement on the current political scenario,” Hamid Abdul Gafoor, Maldivian Democratic Party spokesperson said.

2.Ram-Madhav-21The MUO said that they are hopeful that they will be able to cash the friendship with Madhav and get India “intervene” to overthrow the “authoritarian” rule of President Abdulla Yameen’s government.

“We met Ram Madhav in Columbo in February this year, when BJP formally joined the International Democratic Union (IDU) and we connected well during that meeting. Now that we are in Delhi, we are meeting him and hopefully few other leaders to seek more support,” Gafoor said expressing the wish to meet the Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj later in the day.

The delegation is most likely to highlight the issue of radicalisation and alleged involvement of President Yameen in funding the extremism in the meeting- which remains one of the major concerns for India.

The MUO has alleged that besides the obvious collapse of democracy and judicial system in the country, President Yameen is also involved in funding the radical groups in the country.

“Extremists are being funded by Sun Siyam who is a leader of Maldives Development Alliance, He is also a big time resort businessman. He owns the Sun Group. Yameen’s closest coalition partner and extreme radical activities are taking place in some of the atolls of the Maldives,” said Ahmed Naseem, former Foreign Affairs Minister of the Indian Ocean nation.

Shadow minister of Defence and National Security Abdullah Ameen said, “If India and the members of international community neglects us on this critical time, the results could be dangerous beyond imagination. The Indian Ocean might fall under unforeseen perils.”

“Today the friends of the Maldivian government are not its neighbours. Neither are they the close friends of India. For the safety and security of the region, we look for the support of India to rectify the course of Maldives,” Ameen said.

Without mincing words, he said, “We ask India to support the hard work of the Maldivians to bring back democracy to the Maldives.”

MUO india


Shadow minister of Health, Social Protection and Gender, Shidhatha Shareef, said the Maldivian economy has become the “second worst in the South Asia region, next to Afghanistan, with only 1.9 per cent growth”. She said while 40 per cent of the population of the Maldives is youth, 12 per cent of them are unemployed, according to a World Bank report.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on several occasions, has urged the countries around the world to stop advocating the concept of “good terrorism” or “bad terrorism” and come forward to unite against any kind of radicalisation.

Interestingly, Indian had also negotiated a counter-terrorism agreement with President Yameen to deal with the issue of Maldivians leaving for Syria and other countries to join the biggest terror group ISIS.

However, the MUO insists that the policies will remain just policies as President Yameen is not sincere in eliminating radical elements in the country and highly undermining the numbers.

“We believe in Narendra Modi’s ‘region first’ policy without reservation and we want to uphold the traditional friendship with India,” Naseem said.

The government officially announced that 49 Maldivians have left the country to fight foreign wars while the opposition claims the numbers to be more than 300. The MUO also urged the need to have a detailed profiling of the radicalised youth to ensure that it is stopped at first step.

The MUO is also likely to meet other stakeholders in the country before heading to the United States early next month.

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