Saudi Arabia has agreed to grant USD150 million to the Maldives, the government announced Thursday.
National economic council co-chair and fisheries minister Dr Mohamed Shainee told Mihaaru that Saudi is providing the MVR2.3 billion aid to assist the “financial and economic situation” in the archipelago.
However, Shainee insisted that the funds secured during president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s second state visit to the Kingdom was not free aid.
“We will discuss a repayment method in the coming days,” Shainee who had accompanied the president to Saudi added.
The Saudis are funding several key projects including a significant airport development project.
Shainee said the president’s visit has further enhanced the excellent relations between the two countries.
President Yameen since assuming power has looked to deepen ties with the Saudi Kingdom.
Government had also said King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has accepted an invitation to visit the island nation.
“… King Salman accepted the offer and agreed to visit the Maldives at a mutually convenient date,” a statement released after the official talks read.
The Saudi Arabian government is also set to triple the number of higher education scholarships provided to the Maldives.
Saudi presently provides 100 scholarships from an array of areas to the Maldives, but now have agreed to increase the number to 300.