Mohamed Azad was appointed as the new financial controller at the finance ministry following the resignation of former controller Fathmath Razeena, who left the post after six years to pursue a PhD overseas.
The financial controller is responsible for maintaining records of government income and overseeing the procurement and sale of assets.
Azad holds a masters degree in finance and previously served as an SoE reform consultant at the finance ministry and head of the intelligence department at the Anti-Corruption Commission.
British Airways announced plans to resume direct flights to the Maldives.
From 14 October, the airline will operate four weekly direct flights from London’s Heathrow Airport to Malé’s Velana International Airport. Daily flights will begin after 30 October.
The resumption of flights follows a partnership with Qatar Airways to form the largest joint airline business, adding 42 new countries to their shared network, including Italy, the Maldives, Norway, Singapore, and Sweden.
A US$136 million contract to develop the Hanimaadhoo airport in the northernmost atoll was signed with JMC Projects, an Indian company that submitted the winning bid.
The project – financed by a line of credit from the Indian EXIM Bank and the largest carried outside of the Greater Malé region – involves the construction of a new 2.46km runway and a terminal with the capacity to serve 1.3 million passengers annually. Once the expansion is completed in 2024, the international airport would be able to accommodate A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft, which would enable direct flights from the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and southern African countries, the economic development ministry said. The project will clear obstacles in developing tourism in the northern atolls, create “thousands of jobs” and facilitate fish exports.
The government’s aim is to transform Hanimadhoo into a “main economic hub” in the north, Economic Development Minister Fayyaz Ismail said at the contract signing ceremony.
The State Trading Organisation signed a new US$189 million Trade Financing Facility with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation to “support the procurement of essential commodities, including petroleum products, staple food, medicine and medical equipment.”
Mohamed Solah was appointed CEO of Crown & Champa Resorts, one of the country’s largest resort operators.
An industry veteran who served as general manager of Komandoo resort, Solah becomes the first Maldivian CEO of the company. He will be responsible for overseeing nine resort properties and a city hotel in the Maldives.
As part of a campaign to digitalise services, the Maldives Ports Limited introduced a jobs portal, an auction portal, and a staff mobile application.
Employees can use the staff app to check attendance reports, salary details, and the number of available leave days. The auction app offers information about uncleared goods available for purchase. Buyers can submit bids for online auctions.
The new online services were inaugurated at a ceremony held to mark the state-owned company’s 36th anniversary.
In March, MPL launched a digital portal for automated and simplified cargo clearance through apps and online platforms. The digitalisation of services would reduce the time spent in seeking permits for clearance from six hours to 15 minutes, according to MPL, which aims to become 99% paperless by 2023.
In an interview with the state broadcaster, Chinese Ambassador Wang Lixin announced that preparations were underway to resume direct flights between China and Maldives in October after more than two years. The Maldives remain the most popular destination among Chinese travelers, she said.
China was the top source market for tourists to the Maldives before the pandemic with 284,029 holidaymakers in 2019.
The authorities forecast the return of Chinese tourists in the fourth quarter in an optimistic scenario for 2022 tourist arrivals.