Funds secured for new airport terminal, says Maldives

Finance minister Ahmed Munawar (R) signs with Saudi Fund for Development for a grant of USD 100 million for the development of a new passenger terminal at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA). PHOTO: HUSSAIN SHAYAAH/MIHAARU

Finance minister Ahmed Munawar (R) signs with Saudi Fund for Development for a grant of USD 100 million for the development of a new passenger terminal at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA). PHOTO: HUSSAIN SHAYAAH/MIHAARU

All funds for the development of the new terminal at the Maldives’ main airport have now been secured, announced finance minister Ahmed Munawar late Sunday.

After signing with Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Fund for Development for a grant of USD 100 million to the project at Kurumba Maldives resort, the minister told Mihaaru that the government will soon sign with some other entities that have agreed to loan funds for Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA)’s new terminal.

“Various international parties have agreed to loan us the funds needed for this project. The government will also cover some of it with the state budget,” said the minister.

Saudi Fund’s grant of USD 100 million is to be repaid within 25 years with a grace period of five years and with two percent interest. Saudi Fund’s grant is the single largest loan received by the Maldives government for the new terminal project. Earlier the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) loaned USD 50 million while the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) had recently decided to also loan USD 50 million to the Maldives.

The project estimated to cost around USD 300 million was awarded to Saudi Arabia’s largest construction firm, Saudi Binladin Group. The new state-of-the-art terminal is expected to cater for seven million passengers annually.

Speaking at the signing ceremony with Saudi Fund, the minister stated that the government will sign with the remaining entities that agreed to loan funds for the project by the end of this year. Munawar added that the project will be completed in 2018.

“The Saudi Fund has granted us a most magnanimous aid. We hope to receive such assistance from Saudi Arabia in the future,” said Minister Munawar, noting that Saudi Fund also aided the Youth City project in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale earlier this year.

Munawar also highlighted that the grant of USD 100 million is the largest amount of money loaned by the fund to a single project in the Maldives.

Speaking at the ceremony, Saudi Fund’s vice chairman and managing director Yousef al-Bassam stated that the fund has so far granted total USD 266 million to 12 development projects of the island nation. He also stressed the importance of developing the new airport terminal, noting the benefits it will bring to the Maldives’ tourism and import-export fields.

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