Fisheries Project, MPL Bond, Agri-Boat Contract

Wednesday, June 21

After multiple delays, the completion date for theMaldives Floating City – a 5,000-house development by Dutch Docklands in a 200-hectare lagoon near the capital – was pushed forward to early 2028, citing major changes to the project’s masterplan.

According to the developer, construction will now begin in August as regulatory approvals have been secured. The masterplan was changed at the request of the Maldives government to add more housing units and to reduce the starting price to US$100,000, the company said.

In February, a mockup home was towed to the Hulhumalé lagoon for display to the public. Local consultant Ibrahim Riyaz – who posted photos from the mockup unit and blamed slow approval processes from government agencies for delays – said at the time that preparation for displaying a three-home unit was complete. Riyaz said journalists would be invited in late February but the presentation has yet to take place. It was previously promised in August last year.

Local resort construction company Bison Maldives was contracted to build the homes in February 2022 based on specifications by engineers from the Netherlands. The housing units are to be tethered to the lagoon floor and linked together.

In June 2022, the US$1 billion project was changed to an integrated tourism project upon advice from the government’s economic council. 

A “million dollar alternating payment fee” was paid and an agreement was signed between the tourism ministry and Dutch Dockland Maldives, a joint venture formed between the government and the Netherlands developer.

The project drew international media attention over the past year with coverage from CNNUSA TodayBusiness Insider and several other outlets.

Wednesday, June 21

Customs collected MVR357 million (US$23 million) as revenue in May, up 19% from the same period last year as imports increased by 5%. Exports were up a whopping 37% from May 2022.

The Maldives Ports Limited raised MVR50 million (US$3.2 million) through the capital markets from its first bond issue. The first MVR50 million tranche of the fixed income bond was listed on the Viyana platform in April last year, offering an annual return of 7% for investors. It was oversubscribed by the closing date of 19 June 2023.

MPL earned a profit of MVR108.9 million in 2022 – up 43% from the previous year – and paid a dividend of MVR67.5 million to the government.

Tuesday, June 20

Saudi Arabian low-cost airline Flynas commenced thrice-weekly direct flights to the Maldives. The inaugural flight was welcomed with a water salute at the Velana International Airport. 

Tourism Minister Dr Abdulla Mausoom – who attended the ceremony along with senior officials of Flynas – told the press that talks were ongoing to arrange Flynas routes to other airports in the country in a bid to boost tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday, June 20

Monday, June 19

A local company was contracted to build the first-of-its-kind ‘Agri-Boat’ for the government’s Agro National Corporation with support from the UNDP and the Japanese government.

Designed by the Marine Police, the 65-feet and 45-feet Agri-Boats are intended to “establish an effective and reliable transportation mechanism, enabling timely delivery of agricultural produce from farmers to markets and customers across the Maldives,” according to the UNDP.

“The Agri-Boat, with swift delivery of produce in cold and dry storage, will reduce post harvest losses for farmers, diversifying market access, boosting economic opportunities and enhancing food security, especially in island communities of Maldives with limited access to fresh produce.”

Since its inception in 2020, AgroNat – which buys from local farmers and supplies to resorts and wholesalers – has partnered with more than 800 farmers from across the country.

Monday, June 19

The Maldives Islamic Bank raised the limit of its consumer financing scheme ‘Ujaalaa Dhiriulhun’ up to MVR700,000 (US$45,395), offering the choice of payment periods between 18 to 60 months.

Sunday, June 18

Two agreements were signed with the World Bank for US$67.8 million to strengthen the competitiveness of the fisheries sector and to support reforms to state-owned enterprises.

The US$52.8 million fisheries project “focuses on sharing knowledge and data to make better decisions and strengthening the country’s ability to govern and protect the fisheries sector” and offers training for “at least 40,000 people from the coastal communities with a special focus on encouraging more women to participate in fisheries management”.

The US$15 million Maldives Competitiveness and Growth Project (MCGP) “aims to assist in encouraging greater private sector participation in the economy and in enhancing the management and operation of specific SOEs” and “to make the 40,000 registered SMEs in Maldives more competitive by improving digital financial systems to make it easier for them to access loans.”

The project will also offer support to “selected innovative SMEs to help them grow and develop new environmentally friendly products that can compete in emerging markets, encouraging other existing small businesses and potential entrepreneurs to develop and contribute to a vibrant SME ecosystem.”

Sunday, June 18