Muizzu administration breaks promise: Allocates MVR 77 Million for Rasmale Project

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President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s administration has released MVR 77 million to complete the reclamation of the first 27 hectares under the “Rasmale'” project. This move comes despite repeated assurances that the project would not require a single cent from the state budget.

The initial phase of the Rasmale’ project hit a major roadblock when the contract with Capital Marine and Construction Company (CMCC) was canceled due to their inability to secure necessary financing. The project, which President Muizzu had confidently declared would proceed without interruption and be completed within eight months, ground to a halt shortly after commencement. The reclamation efforts in the Fushidhiggaru lagoon, which had been inactive since February, resumed on July 1 following the disbursement of over MVR 77 million.

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(Video – Adhadhun mv)

The Muizzu administration’s narrative of exploring alternative funding options for the project remained vague and devoid of transparency. Despite claims made on May 30, 2024, about seeking other ways to continue the project, no substantial details were provided to the public. This lack of information has fueled speculation and concern among citizens and opposition members alike.

Sources close to the matter have revealed that a significant payment was made to Raju, a key figure in the reclamation process, enabling the resumption of work. However, the exact amount and nature of these transactions remain undisclosed. According to reliable sources, Raju was paid MVR 77 million to complete the reclamation of site J, along with associated revetment and coastal protection work. Notably, neither the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) nor the government has publicly acknowledged this payment.

The allocation of MVR 77 million by HDC, a fully state-owned entity funded by the government budget, directly contradicts President Muizzu’s public commitment. At various public events, the President and senior officials had assured the Maldivian people that no government funds would be utilized for the project.

“In any case, the Rasmale’ project has started and is now proceeding. That project is proceeding in a way that the Maldivian state doesn’t have to spend any money at all. God willing, we will continue the project that way and complete it. Believe it,” President Muizzu declared on December 20, 2023, during the Kangathi awards ceremony.

The project initially began on December 18, 2023, with the aim of reclaiming 1,153 hectares from the 1,280-hectare lagoon south of Male’. The abrupt launch of the project, coupled with the Parliament’s exclusion of the initially allocated MVR 400 million from the annual budget, sparked significant controversy and concern over the lack of transparency and accountability.

The Fushidhiggaru land reclamation project, in particular, has faced criticism for its opaque execution. The contractor was promised 10 hectares from Hulhumale’ and 60 hectares from the reclaimed land, raising further questions about the project’s management and financial integrity.

Amidst a backdrop of stringent cost-cutting measures due to constrained public finances, the disbursement of MVR 77 million for the reclamation project highlights the government’s inconsistent fiscal policies. This decision underscores a glaring departure from the President’s initial promise, undermining public trust and raising doubts about the administration’s commitment to transparency and responsible governance.

The Rasmale’ project, once heralded as a milestone in sustainable development without state expenditure, now stands as a testament to unfulfilled promises and questionable financial management under Muizzu’s leadership.