The government’s “total solution” housing scheme will cost US$86 million (MVR1.3 billion), local media reported the fisheries minister as saying.
Mohamed Shainee, who also chairs the cabinet’s economic and youth council, told Mihaaru the project will be “easily financed” as the government is already running projects worth millions of dollars on grant and loan aid from foreign countries.
The Vilimalé 2 – or ‘Hiyaa Accomplished’ – project was announced by President Abdulla Yameen as a “total solution” to overcrowding in the capital and promised a “second city” that could house almost the entire Maldivian population.
The project involves the reclamation and development of Gulhifalhu, a shallow lagoon west of Malé, and Fushidhiggaru Falhu, a shallow lagoon south of the capital. The government will give out 82,000 plots of land or flats under the project, according to the Housing Ministry.
“It will be easy for this government to find funding for the project. [We have] financed much more expensive projects already. Finding US$86 million is not going to be difficult for this government. [We have] that capacity,” Shainee was quoted as saying.
No budget breakdowns, sources of finance, time-frame, categories or work schedule have been given for the ambitious plan, which was announced ahead of a presidential election.
Shainee was not responding to calls by the Maldives Independent to clarify the cost estimate and what it was based on.
According to local media, 3,000 applications to apply for homes under the new project have been issued by the housing ministry. The conditions to be eligible for housing are to be 18 years of age and not own a 1,000 square feet plot of land in the country.
Housing is a hot-button issue in the Maldives, where 39 percent of the country’s population is squeezed onto the capital island.
Thousands migrate to Malé in search of jobs, better education and healthcare, making Malé one of the world’s most densely populated cities.
The government is already planning to resettle more than 100,000 people in a development on Hulhumalé. More than 40,000 application forms for this project had been taken by the end of May.