The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has pledged MVR 1.2 billion towards the enhancement of the Velana International Airport (VIA) in the Maldives.
The announcement came during a press conference held today, where Mohamed Firuzul, the spokesperson for President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu, revealed that Dr Muizzu had formally requested financial assistance from the UAE government to facilitate the completion of the VIA development project.
Responding to this request, the UAE government responded by providing MVR 1.2 billion for the project’s completion. Mohamed Firuzul explained, “We have requested the UAE government’s Abu Dhabi Fund to provide the necessary funds. They have assured us that the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) will allocate USD 80 million, equivalent to MVR 1.2 billion.”
This substantial financial support has successfully secured all the required funding for the Velana International Airport project. President-elect Dr. Muizzu emphasised that his foremost priority is to finalise the VIA development project in time for the upcoming tourism season next year.
He expressed gratitude for the UAE’s assistance, highlighting that this funding ensures the expeditious completion of the airport project. Furthermore, they pledged additional financial aid for Maldives’ budget support, further strengthening the bilateral ties between the two nations.
President-elect Dr. Muizzu had previously emphasised the significance of expediting the VIA project after winning the election. The project faced delays, primarily attributed to the impact of COVID-19 and other factors.
The construction of the new terminal at VIA commenced in 2016, with an initial completion date set for the previous year. Regrettably, due to unforeseen challenges, the terminal remains unfinished.
This new terminal project, one of the most extensive undertakings at the airport, was originally commissioned by the previous Yameen government and awarded to the Saudi Bin Laden Group for approximately MVR 5.3 billion. Additional contributions from the Saudi Fund (MVR 185 million), Kuwait Fund (MVR 149 million), OPEC Fund (MVR 37 million), and Abu Dhabi (MVR 18 million) have been earmarked for the terminal’s completion next year.