In a rare visit to four Maldives islands this week, President Abdulla Yameen pledged to provide government-administered round-the-clock electricity in all inhabited islands by 2018. Last year, he had assured the same by the end of 2015.
Speaking to the residents of Innamaadhoo in central Raa Atoll on Tuesday, Yameen said: “Today, my administration is pledging, within my five year term, to ensure 24 hour electricity in all inhabited islands, no matter how small they are.”
In September last year, when state utility Fenaka procured some 77 generators, Yameen, at a ceremony in Malé, said reliable electricity will be provided to all inhabited islands during 2015.
Fenaka, which provides electricity to 117 out of 194 islands, is expected to take over some 60 powerhouses operated by island councils and private companies.
The president had inaugurated powerhouses in Innamaadhoo and Maduvvari in Raa Atoll on Tuesday.
In Innamaadhoo, Yameen spoke on the need to shorten the bidding and tendering processes for development projects. He suggested the government could compile lists of companies, and hand projects to the companies on the list. If one fails, then the project could be handed to another company, he said.
In Maduvvari, noting the lack of space for land reclamation, Yameen said that the government is willing to build high rise buildings for housing. Yameen had previously said he wants to relocate some 75 percent of the Maldivian population to the reclaimed island on Hulhumalé.
Today, he visited Landhoo in Noonu Atoll and Goidhoo in Baa Atoll.
In his speeches, Yameen acknowledged his infrequency in visiting islands, but blamed it on the Independence Day celebrations in Malé.
He also appealed for unity and cooperation with the government and called on elected officials to set aside differences in political ideologies.
Democracy encourages unity, instead of hostility and opposition among thise with political differences, he said in Landhoo.
Yameen’s statement comes amidst a political crisis triggered by the jailing of opposition leaders.
MP Ahmed ‘Sun’ Shiyam, meanwhile, said “yellow fever” needs to be eradicated from the Maldives. Yellow is the color of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
In Goidhoo, opposition supporters had drawn yellow banners urging Yameen to free all political prisoners, including former President Mohamed Nasheed and reminded the president of unfulfilled campaign pledges.
Speaking to Goidhoo islanders, Yameen said he will take harsh action against those who commit terror acts. Nasheed has been jailed on a terrorism charge, while the President of Adhaalath Party Sheikh Imran Abdulla has been held without trial on a terrorism charge.
“This president will not hesitate to take action against those who commit terror offences,” he said.
A new bill with harsh penalties for terrorism is now before parliament, and is expected to pass as the government controls a comfortable majority in the parliament.
In May, Yameen visited Raa Atoll to inaugurate an airport. Before that, he had last visited Addu City in December last year.