Loan signed between the Government of Maldives and Saudi Fund for Development for the ‘Expansion of Velana International Airport (VIA) Project (Additional Loan)’ AND the ‘Health Sector Development Project’
16 May 2024 Share Tweet

The Government of the Republic of Maldives and the Saudi Fund for Development have signed the Financing Agreements for the projects, ‘Expansion of Velana International Airport (VIA) Project (Additional Loan)’ and the ‘Health Sector Development Project’ amounting to a total of SAR 375,000,000 (Saudi Riyal, Three Hundred and Seventy-Five Million) and SAR 187,500,000 (Saudi Riyal, One Hundred and Eighty-Seven Million, Five Hundred Thousand) respectively. The signing ceremony took place on the 16th of May 2024 at Ministry of Finance.

The Minister of Finance, Dr. Mohamed Shafeeq, signed the agreements on behalf of the Government of Maldives, and Mr. Sultan Abdulrahman Al-Marshad, Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Fund for Development, signed on behalf of the Saudi Fund for Development.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister noted that engagements between the Government of the Maldives and the Saudi Fund for Development began in 1978 with the signing of similar concessional loan financing for the upgrade of the airport, and that since then, the SFD has made an indelible mark in the Maldives with a total lending of 1.2 billion Saudi Riyals to-date, contributing to several important developments in sectors such as housing, healthcare, fisheries and commercial and public infrastructure. The Minister also highlighted SFD’s generous assistance for Relief, Recovery & Reconstruction effort during the 2004 Tsunami.

The SFD and Government of the Maldives signed the initial loan for the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport Upgrade Project (now known as the Expansion and Upgrading of Velana International Airport) in 2016.

This visionary VIA project will bring multiple economic benefits throughout the country. The financing obtained through this loan will ensure the smooth completion of the Velana International Airport by the set completion date. The expansion of the VIA will enhance our ability to accommodate more inbound tourists by enabling us to cater to more airlines. The project will stimulate related industries such as hospitality, retail, and transportation. This, in turn, is expected to drive significant growth in the tourism sector, which is a key sector which contributes to the GDP of the Maldivian economy.

Additionally, the Health Sector Development Project aims to enhance health care in the country by developing facilities and providing efficient, safe services using the best resources and technologies. It will also improve social awareness through guidance and counseling for patients and families. Three hospitals will be established on 3 islands.