Minister: Relocation of port elsewhere could delay benefits

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail.

The benefits and advantages of an international port established in a location other than Gulhifalhu could be slow yielding, Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail has said. 

The Minister was speaking in a program of Raajje TV last night when he said that the benefits of the port to be relocated to Gulhifalhu, could take as long as 30 years if established elsewhere.

A lot of questions were posed due to the location of the port, said the Minister who remarked that the Greater Male’ Area was still the center of the country with over half of the population. The relocation of the port elsewhere would only bring benefits once the country and its citizens are fully decentralized.

“It is not wrong in itself (relocation of the port elsewhere). However, when we relocate the port elsewhere, the benefits of the port could take as long as 20-30 years to be obtained.” Said the Minister who added that the price of goods would also be stable since the capital was located in the center of the nation. 

The relocation of the port would also decongest the capital, with the relocation of godowns and storage facilities in the capital also to be cheaply relocated to Gulhifalhu. 

An aerial shot of k. Gulhifalhu. (File Photo/The Business Report)

Business expenditure and business opportunities would also increase while prices would reduce from the move, said the Minister. 

“The bridge, when it is connected, the true benefits are reaped. When the goods brought to the port are transported to Male’ City and Hulhumale’ via the bridge. So the relocation of those godowns to Gulhifalhu, would have more merit.” Said the Minister. 

Thilafushi, the neighboring island of Gulhifalhu, is also expected to be developed into a strong manufacturing center and the connectivity would reduce prices and increase business transactions as well. 

“The connectivity would be very much connected to Male’ if we can develop islands such as Giraavaru or North Thilafalhu. A lot of economic changes would be observed.” Said Minister Fayyaz.

The bridge project is estimated to cost USD 2 billion and the government was obtaining loans of an interest as low as two percent. The loans are to be repaid within 15-20 years, said the Minister.

Economic activities of the country, currently in a slow resurgence, would also get an added boost from the project which was something important, said the Minister. 

The Minister said that the government wished to see people enjoying the benefits of the projects before the government’s term expires, but that the government was going to conduct things right rather than attempting to finish projects within the term.

The port and bridge projects could take as long as three years to complete. The awarding of the port project is to be finalized by the end of this year and the bridge project is also expected to commence early next year.