Minister of Economic Development, Fayyaz Ismail has said that the physical work of the Male’-Thilafushi bridge and Gulhifalhu port would commence in mid-2021.
The Male’-Thilafushi bridge is set to be built under the Greater Male’ Connectivity Project, which is being financed with a $400 million loan from EXIM Bank of India and an additional $100 million grant from the Indian government.
Speaking on a television program by Public Service Media (PSM), Minister Fayyaz stated that the bidding for both projects is ongoing. Closing dates for the bidding process for the project and bridge projects are 12th and 26th November respectively.
While both bidding processes are being carried out almost at the same time, the Ministry is planning to send the qualifying parties to EXIM bank within a month after the bid closing date. Fayyaz also said that this process would be fast-tracked by sending the tenders to the EXIM bank as soon as possible, to finalize a contractor by the beginning of next year.
Since the projects are design and build (D&B) projects, if the contractor is finalized by January or February, the contractor should be able to bring in their machinery and commence work by mid-year.
The government has budgeted a total of MVR 444.9 million for the bridge project in the 2021 budget. This is the single highest amount allocated for a project in next year’s budget.
The Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) includes a 6.7 km bridge and causeway network connecting Male, Villingili, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi. It would serve as a national economic engine and lifeline connecting Hulhumale’, Hulhule’ and Male’ with the proposed Gulhifalhu Port and the Thilafushi Industrial Zone.