The government has returned the island of Naagoshi in Haa Dhaal atoll, which was awarded for resort development, to Maldives Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) after seizing it late last year.
MTDC’s Managing Director Abdulla Shujau declared Sunday that the company had suffered great losses after the government took back the island last year.
“We requested to get the island back; MTDC’s survival depended on it. The government agreed to give the island back for 50 years under a settlement agreement,” he said.
The government had taken back Naagoshi due to MTDC’s long delay in commencing development after the island was awarded to the corporation. However, MD Shujau noted that at the time of seizure, the government had extended the deadline for MTDC to settle its fines and penalties.
“The government’s thinking was also aligned with saving MTDC. That’s why they gave the island back to us as per our request.”
MTDC has amounted a staggering USD 13 million (MVR 200 million) as rent and penalties to be paid in island leases.
Meanwhile, the corporation is seeking a contractor to develop and manage the resort in Naagoshi. According to MD Shujau, four companies have expressed interest in the project and MTDC will award Naagoshi development to the best bid next month.
MTDC had completed 37 percent of the resort in Naagoshi at the time the island was seized after the government terminated its contract with the corporation. MTDC had initially subleased the project to local firm Three K International Pvt Ltd, which had signed on world renowned Carlson Hotels to manage the resort in 2011. At the time, Three K had proclaimed that the resort would be opened in 2012.