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Maldives News Bulletin, 28-12-2008
Issue No: 1183
The President appoints officials to some senior posts at the President's Office

21st Dec: President Mohamed Nasheed has appointed four Under Secretaries and two Deputy Under Secretary at the President's Office.

The newly appointed Under Secretaries are:

- Mr. Hussain Amir

- Dr. Isaam Mohamed

- Ms Eman Hussain

- Mr. Mohamed Hilmy

The two newly appointed Deputy Under Secretaries

- Ms Fathimath Eahan

- Ms Aminath Shauna


The President appoints senior government officials

21st Dec: President Mohamed Nasheed has appointed four officials to senior government posts. The newly appointed officials are:

1. Dr. Ahmed Razy as the Special Envoy for Dhuvaafaru Resettlement

2. Mr. Ahmed Inaz as the Deputy Minister of Economic Development

3. Mr. Ali Rasheed Hussain as the Deputy Minister of Economic Development

4. Mr. Ahmed Adham as the Deputy Minister of State for Home Affairs


The President appoints members to the Board of Directors of MIFCO

22nd Dec: President Mohamed Nasheed has appointed members to the Board of Directors of Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company Limited.

The President appointed Mr. Ali Faiz as the Managing Director of the Company. Other members appointed to the Board are:

- Mr. Hamid Ahmed

- Mr. Mohamed Mahir Easa

- Mr. Mohamed Matheen

- Mr. Mohamed Ashfaq

- Mr. Ahmed Firaq

- Mr. Abdul Hameed Mohamed


The President meets with scouts who will participate in the Thailand International Camporee

22nd Dec: President Nasheed has met with the Maldives' scout contingent who will participate in the International Camporee to be held in Chiangmai of Thailand. The meeting was held today at Majeedhiyya School.

The Maldives contingent to participate in this Camporee includes 30 scouts.

Speaking at the meeting, the President encouraged the scouts to display exemplary behaviour as they would be representing the Maldives.

The meeting was attended by Chief Commissioner of Scout Association, Mr. Ahmed Ali Maniku; other senior members of the associations and teachers and parents of the scouts participating in this camporee.


The President appoints members to the Board of Directors of Maldives Airport Company Limited

22nd Dec: The President has appointed members to the Board of Directors of Maldives Airport Company Limited.

Mr. Ibrahim Noordeen was appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company.

Other members appointed to the Board are:

- Mr. Mohamed Amir

- Captain Mohamed Ameen

- Mr. Abdul Razzaq Idhrees

- Mr. Mohamed Waheed

- Mr. Shaz Waleed


The President establishes Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation Limited

22nd Dec: President Mohamed Nasheed has established Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation Limited and appointed members to the Board of Directors. The Corporation was established as a government company with hundred percent government shares.

Mr. Madulu Mohamed Waheed was appointed as the Chairman of the Corporation and Mr. Ibrahim Haleel was appointed as the Managing Director. Other members appointed to the Board are:

- Ms Aminath Najeeb

- Mr. Ahmed Naseer

- Ms Mariyam Waheeda

- Mr. Abdulla Haseen

- Mr. Adam Shareef

- Mr. Mohamed Yasir


The President appoints members to the Board of Directors of Maldives Post Limited

23rd Dec: The President has appointed members to the Board of Directors of Maldives Post Limited.

Mr. Ismail Rasheed was appointed as the Chairman while Mr. Ahmed Shihab was appointed as the Managing Director of the Board.

Other members appointed to the Board are:

- Ms Salwa Shafeeq

- Ms Malaha Mohamed Ibrahim

- Mr. Hassan Zareer


The President urges to inaugurate the regionalisation of administrative services in the north

23rd Dec; President Nasheed has urged to inaugurate the regionalisation of administrative services in the northern region tomorrow. The President made the appeal while speaking with some Home Ministry officials yesterday, at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Following the President's appeal, a Home Ministry delegation today, left for the north with the administrative paraphernalia. The delegation includes Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr. Ahmed Mujthaba; State Minister designated for the Northern Region, Mr. Mohamed Hunaif and Deputy State Minister for the Northern Region, Mr. Fuad Gasim.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is carrying out the regionalisation of administrative services to the north region in close collaboration with the President's Office.


The President and the First Lady arrive in India on a State Visit

23rd Dec: President Nasheed and First Lady Laila Ali arrived this afternoon in the Indian capital, New Delhi, on a State Visit.

They were welcomed on arrival at the New Delhi Airport by the India Foreign Secretary Mr. Shivshankar Menon, officials of the Maldives' High Commission in India and protocol officials of the government of India.


The President meets with the President of the Indian National Congress, Shrimathi Sonia Gandhi

23rd Dec: President Nasheed today met with the President of the Indian National Congress, Shrimathi Sonia Gandhi. The meeting was held at the Taj Mahal Hotel.

In their meeting the President and Smt. Sonia Gandhi discussed on the ways of strengthening bilateral relations and on possible areas of cooperation between the Maldives and India.

The President also thanked the Indian Government for its support and assistances to the Maldives. In this regard he noted that Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital stand as the most visible icon of the close friendship between the Maldives and India. Further, he noted the quick assistances of India, following the 2004 tsunami.

Noting that the Lakshadweep islands of India have many features common with the islands of Maldives, the President said that Maldivian resort developers were interested in sharing their expertise with India in developing such islands as resorts.

Smt. Sonia Gandhi accepted an invitation by the President to visit the Maldives and said that she looked forward to visit the Maldives.


The President meets with senior members of three business organizations of India

23rd Dec: President Nasheed has met with senior officials and some members of the Confederation of Indian Industry; Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry; and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The meeting was held this evening at the Taj Mahal Hotel.

In his address at the meeting, the President welcomed the participants to explore the various investment opportunities in the Maldives. Highlighting that the Maldives offered a very attractive and stable environment for foreign investors he said that the Government gave priority in attracting further investment from countries such as India.

Following his speech the President received warm acclaim from the participants of the meeting.


Maldives sign a trade agreement with CII

23rd Dec: The Government of Maldives has signed a trade agreement with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The signing of the agreement was held this evening, at a meeting held with the senior officials of CII. President Nasheed attended the meeting.

The agreement was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed and by the President of CII, Mr. Harish Narula.

Speaking at the meeting, the officials of CII noted that the Maldives, especially the northern islands, lie very close with India and that they believe that the Maldives gave high priority to protect the channel between the two countries. Further, they discussed with the President on ways of taking this venture in collaboration with India. They also noted this channel was also an important trade route.


India's Leader of the Opposition, Shri L. K. Advani calls on President Nasheed

24th Dec: India's Leader of the Opposition, Shri L. K. Advani called on President Nasheed this evening.

The President and Shri Advani discussed the long-standing close friendly ties between the Maldives and India.

Shri Advani congratulated President Nasheed for having won the first multi-party elections held in the Maldives.

The President thanked Mr. Advani for his kind sentiments and noted the high priority that the President had attached to advancing ties with India.


The Vice President of India calls on President Nasheed

24th Dec: The Vice President of India, His Excellency Mr. M. Hamid Ansari called on President Nasheed this afternoon. The meeting was held the Taj Mahal Hotel.

President spoke on the bilateral ties between the Maldives and India. They also exchanged views on areas for further collaboration between the two neighbouring countries.

Mr. Ansari said that the President's visit to India, as his first State Visit after assumption of office, characterised the cordiality of the relations that existed between the Maldives and India. He also reiterated India's willingness to continue assistances to the Maldives


The President meets with the Prime Minister of India

24th Dec: As part of his ongoing State Visit to India, President Mohamed Nasheed has today met with Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. The meeting was held this afternoon at Hyderabad House.

Speaking at the meeting, the Prime Minister applauded the President's commitment to democratic reform and good governance. He further said that the President's visit to India, as his first State Visit after assumption of office, characterised the cordiality of the relations that existed between the Maldives and India and expressed hope that the visit will further strengthen the existing bilateral relations.

The Prime Minister also expressed the Indian Government's willingness to assist and support the Maldives in accelerating the country's socio-economic development.

Noting the importance of creating more educational opportunities in the islands, the President said that the Maldives was seeking industrial partners from India in developing the sector.

The President also briefed the Prime Minister on the decentralisation initiated by the Government and conveyed the Maldives' readiness to collaborate with the Indian Government on developing resort tourism in the Lakshadweep. He further reiterated on consolidated cooperation on developing the Northern region of the Maldives, including the upgrading of the Hanimaadhoo Airport to an international airport.

Prime Minister Singh noted that climate change as a major issue faced by the Maldives and one of high significance in the international arena. In this regard, he proposed collaborations between the two countries.

The Prime Minister also emphasised that the Indian Government would facilitate and encourage the local private sector to set up joint ventures in the Maldives, as per the President's request.

The President also expressed its readiness to hold the 16th SAARC Summit and requested Indian government's assistance in the endeavour.

Prime Minister Singh concluded by stating that the "destinies of the two countries were the same" and applauded the leadership of President Nasheed.


The President meets with the Indian External Affairs Minister

24th Dec: President Nasheed today met with the Minister of External Affairs of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee. The meeting was held this afternoon, at the Taj Mahal Hotel.

The President thanked Shri Mukherjee for the assistances India had rendered to the Maldives and especially noted the Standby Credit Facility of 100 million US Dollars.

In turn, the External Affairs Minister reiterated Indian Government's willingness to continue assisting the Maldives.

The President and the Indian External Affairs Minister discussed ways of increasing cooperation between the Maldives and India in various other areas.

After the meeting, two key bilateral agreements were signed. The signing ceremony was held at Hyderabad House. The two agreements were an air service agreement and Standby Credit Facility agreement.

On behalf of the Government of Maldives, Minister of Civil Aviation and Communication, Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed signed the air service agreement, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed signed the Standby Credit Facility agreement. The two agreements were signed, on behalf of the Government of India, by External Affairs of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee.


MMA loaned Rf. 203 to government. - Governor

24th Dec: Maldives Monitory Authority (MMA) governor Fazeel Najeeb has confirmed to Miadhu Daily that he gave a Rf. 203 Million loan to the government as the government had no means to cover its expenses.

Governor Fazeel said that in its request letter the government had said that it had no money to run the government and that it was working on getting the required funds. Further, Fazeel said, in the letter government had given assurances that such funding will be available soon.

Governor revealed that the Rf. 203 Million was loaned with a 6 percent interest to be paid up within 3 months after necessary discussions with Authority's board.

Such a short term loan is not an issue, however if the loan is not paid up within the specified period and payments prolonged over a considerable period it is likely to affect inflation, Fazeel said.

He also revealed government usually takes short term loans and those due non payments these loans keep accumulating causing the government to go in to debt.

He revealed that previous governments had borrowed Rf. 2.3 billion out of which Rf. 100 Million was borrowed during late President Nasir's presidency.

The government has been asked to pay its debts and that a payment schedule has been drawn up and discussions are underway with the government.

When asked by Miadhu Daily why there was no action on part of MMA when government debts escalated to such huge sums, governor Fazeel replied that "during that time, when this was on going, Finance Minister and MMA Governor was the same person, as such no action was taken".

Former President Gayoom as part of his package and mounting pressure from the parliament and International Finance Institutions appointed separate persons to positions of Finance Minister and MMA governor in 2005.


100 teachers from Australia will arrive soon - Mustafa Luthfy

24th Dec: Out of the 1000 school teachers pledged by friendly countries as aid to ease the present difficulties faced by Maldives in finding suitably qualified school teachers, 100 teachers from Australia will arrive soon, Education Minister Mustafa Luthfy has said.

Briefing the media at press room Fansavees / Dharubaaruge on Tuesday, Minister said even though certain friendly countries are ready to provide school teachers as aid to the government, the ministry will only call in the required number. He revealed that the 100 school teachers coming from Australia will be stationed in Teacher Resource Centers set up in the atolls and will provide training to the local teachers to develop their skills. He also said some of these teachers will also be used to teach English language.

A Vice President of a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) told Miadhu Daily that the poor standard of English taught in schools are affecting grades obtained by students, especially when students are taught in English. He said the fact has been raised at many PTA meetings. He welcome the move by the ministry, saying good English will improve the grades obtained in other subjects.


Customs meet companies importing goods

24th Dec: Maldives Customs Services has held a meeting with the traders importing various goods to Maldives. The meeting was held at the Customs Building and was attended by representatives of 14 companies engaged in importing goods to the country.

The meeting was attended by Principal Collector of Customs Mohamed Aswan, senior official of the Customs Services and officials of Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

According to Maldives Customs the objective of the meeting was to seek out ways to further improve the services provided by customs as well as to discuss and find solutions to the existing problems faced with traders.

During the meeting discussion were also held on the ongoing efforts to compile draft legislation on Customs. A presentation on the existing Import Export Act was also given.

Principal Collector Aswan informed that in future meetings with Maldives Chamber of Commerce will be held regularly.


President Nasheed welcomes Indian investors to venture into the country and share their vast experience and expertise with the Government

25th Dec: President Nasheed last night, has welcomed Indian investors to venture into the country and share their vast experience and expertise with the Government. He made this statement in his speech at the State Banquet hosted by the President of India, Shrimathi Pratibha Devisingh Patil, in honour of President Mohamed Nasheed and Madam Laila Ali. The State Banquet was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

In his speech, the President noted that, India continued to be a close partner of the Maldives in diverse spheres. In this regard, he thanked the Government and friendly people of India for the Standby Credit Facility of USD 100 million provided to the Maldives to alleviate the current national budget deficit and the dire economic situation faced by the country.

Highlighting on the very successful 43 years of formal ties between the two countries, the President said the fact that he was undertaking this important visit, immediately after assuming Office, is testimony to the commitment of the Government of Maldives to strengthen India-Maldives relations. Further, he noted that the Air Services Agreement that was signed between the two countries would further facilitate movement between our two peoples.

In his speech, President Nasheed said:

"India's leadership role in the international fora is exemplary. Its commitment to globally shared values of peace, democracy and human rights personifies a true international leader. The Maldives is proud of India's global achievements and remain her ardent fan. Thus, the Maldives reiterates its support to India, in its bid for the permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council."

Focusing on the Maldives' journey towards democracy, the President said that it was of utmost importance for the Government to deliver on the promises of the new administration. He added that failure to uphold these commitments would lead to the undermining of the democratic values the people had worked so hard to achieve. Further, he expressed his appreciation to the people of India for their continued support and encouragement to the democratisation process in the Maldives. "Once again, we stand to benefit from the knowledge and experience of the world's largest democracy."


The President and the First Lady visit the Maldivian High Commission in New Delhi, India

25th Dec: President Nasheed and First Lady Laila Ali this morning visited the Maldivian High Commission in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

Meeting with the staff of the High Commission, the President noted that the country's entrepreneurs and businessmen played the most vital role in the development of the country. In this regard, he urged the High Commission to extend cooperation to the country's business community and to streamline the High Commission's work towards that end.

The President toured the High Commission and signed the Dignitaries' Book.


The President and the First Lady meet with the Maldivian community in New Delhi

25th Dec: President Nasheed and First Lady Laila Ali, this afternoon met with the Maldivian community in New Delhi.

Speaking at the function, the President called on all Maldivians students residing abroad to pursue educational areas that are beneficial to the country and the government. Speaking further on this topic, the President noted that qualified people were needed for various government projects. And therefore, the President requested from the students to choose areas that are useful to the country.

In his speech, the President noted that it was a great pleasure for him to have had the opportunity to meet with the Maldivian community in New Delhi.

The welcome remarks at the function were delivered by the First Secretary at the High Commission of Maldives in India, Mr. Zubair Mohamed.

The vote-of-thanks was delivered by Maldivian student Ahmed Iyad.

The President and the First Lady also met with and exchanged greetings with the Maldivian community, during the function.


The President and the First Lady return to Male' after concluding their State Visit to India

25th Dec: The President and the First Lady returned to Male' this evening after concluding their State Visit to India.

In his State Visit to India, President Nasheed met with the President of India, Mrs. Prathiba Patil, the Vice President, Mr. Hamid Ansari and the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. He also met with the President of the Indian National Congress, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and India's Leader of the Opposition, Mr. L. K. Advani.

During the visit, two key bilateral agreements were signed. The two agreements were an air service agreement and Standby Credit Facility agreement.

Upon his arrival at Male' International Airport, the President met with the local media.


TAM renews Dhiraagu license

25th Dec: Telecommunication Authority of Maldives (TAM) has renewed the Telecommunication License granted to Dhiraagu at a ceremony held at the Authority on Wednesday.

The ceremony was attended by senior officials from Dhiraagu and TAM. The License agreement on behalf on TAM was signed by Chief Executive Officer Ilyas Ahmed and on behalf of Dhiraagu by Chief Executive Officer Ismail Rasheed.

The license to Dhiraagu is renewed with effect from 1 January 2009 for a period of 15 years. Unlike previous license granted to Dhiraagu, the new license denies any exclusivity in any of the services provided by the company. However just like the previous license, the new license also affords the opportunity to Dhiraagu to provide all telecommunications services including domestic and international services.

Dhiraagu was established in 1988 as the national telecommunications carrier of the Maldives. Since that time Dhiraagu has rapidly built a sound, financially strong business based on a commitment to providing innovative products and services. Dhiraagu have invested over MRF 1.6 billion and employ more than 550 staff members of which 99% are locals. The company today operates a fully digital communications network reaching every inhabited island and tourist resort in the Maldives. The company also operates support centers in 9 regions across the country.


Eligible voters' list announced

25th Dec: The Government Gazette has published a list of eligible voters, including those who would reach the voting age of 18 years by 14th of February next year, who will be eligible to vote in the Parliamentary elections that is scheduled to begin on 15th of February. The list can now be viewed from the Elections Commission and from island offices on every inhabited island and it can also be accessed on the Commission's website.

The list of registered voters of a particular island will have their names on public display in their respective islands, as per Article 9 of the Elections Act.

The commission has announced that all complaints regarding the list should be forwarded to the commission in writing before 4 pm on 3 January 2009. All amendments to the voter registry will be treated in accordance with Article 10 of the Elections Act.

The Chief of the Elections Commission, Mohamed Ibrahim has said on the Raajje Miadhu program of TVM that the commission will endeavor to hold the elections on the designated date, to the best of its capacity. He implored the Parliament to pass the two bills concerning the elections by the 25th of December and mentioned that he had written twice to the speaker of the parliament on this issue.


Familiarizing will be first priority - Ali Faiz

25th Dec: The newly appointed MIFCO Managing Director Ali Faiz stated that his first priority would be to familiarize himself with the workings of the company.

"MIFCO carries out its transactions on a large scale. We have factories and boats, and we produce a considerable range of products. We also conduct wholesale and retail operations and have a number of dealings with foreign parties so I believe that my first priority should be to familiarize myself with the workings of this company." Faiz told Miadhu Daily on Wednesday.

He said that managing the company would not be difficult for him as he is already acquainted with such operations but mentioned that it was necessary to become acquainted with the company to fully discharge his duties as manager. Faiz revealed that he has requested the Auditor General to audit the company as he believes that the present situation of MIFCO would be clear to him only after a proper audit.

Faiz said that he involves high level staff in discussions regarding the direction of the company and that the company will do everything within its ability to carry out the government's policies and serve the nation.

He said that he would grant every opportunity for the company to work as a team and stated that he would place an emphasis on fostering trust and contentment within the working environment of the company.

Some members of the senior management of MIFCO said that this is a welcome change and that everything appears to be going smoothly at this point.


State Bank of India's urged to raise ceiling

26th Dec: President Mohamed Nasheed, who returned to Male' after concluding a three day official visit to India, has said that he has urged the Indian government to raise the ceiling of bank loans provided to Maldivian business community by State Bank of India to US $ 500 Million.

Speaking to Maldivian media from New Delhi, President Nasheed said Indian government has given positive indications to his request.

President said State Bank of India currently provides up to US $ 200 Million. He revealed that following his request, the Indian government has said that it will discuss the issue with the State Bank of India's management and see what can be done.

He further said during his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh he has asked the Prime Minister to afford facilities from the Indian Axim Bank to Indian business community so that they can export goods to Maldives.

"Then there is the issue of our students obtaining higher education here, we are looking at receiving a thousand scholarships from India" said the President briefing the Maldives media from Taj Mahal Hotel.

President Nasheed who is currently on his maiden trip to India after being sworn in as president over a month ago, said discussion were also held on developing human resources in sectors, like nursing, tourism.

President revealed that among the things that has been agreed between both countries include, improving the road systems of some islands, developing and improving the services provided by Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) built by the assistance from Indian government , developing the Hotel School and providing assistance to establish suitable sewerage systems in the islands of Maldives.


MIFCO sells fish at loss of US $ 200 per ton

26th Dec: Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) around 22 - 23 December has sold 3000 tons of frozen tuna to Thailand at US $ 800 per ton and considering the rates easily available in the world market, this transactions would cause the company to lose US $ 200 per ton, Miadhu Daily has learnt from reliable sources.

According to information received the transaction was arranged by former Managing Director of MIFCO Mohamed Shainee while he was in Bangkok and that the company stands to lose at least a minimum of US $ 600,000.

A prominent businessmen dealing widely in the fisheries trade told Miadhu Daily that "Thailand is the world's biggest fish market and as such it is not unusual for other countries like Oman, Iran and Tunisia to offer 20 percent better prices, one has to deeply ponder this kind of transactions, why would such a capable company like MIFCO sells fish at such lowly rates especially when better prices are available".

"When the Fisheries Project Implementation Department (FPID) issues began to surface years ago we heard of transactions like this one, stories of huge commissions being taken by selling fish at incredibly cheap prices, now we are hearing the same type of stories" he said.

A financial analyst speaking to Miadhu Daily expressed concerns over such transactions. He said at a time when global economy is on the down turn, it is imperative we closely watch every Rufiyaa. Otherwise the country and the people may face far reaching consequences, he said.

MIFCO Marketing and Sales in charge Asfag said that the transaction was completed before his time and that he will do his best to obtain best rates available in the market for the existing stock.


Majlis passes 2009 state budget

26th Dec: People's Majlis on Thursday approved Rf. 13.6 billion budget proposed by the government with 14 amendments proposed by members.

The amendments which were moved and seconded during the discussion stage of the Majlis Budget Committee's report were put to vote. Fourteen proposals which called for various amendments were passed.

When the proposed state budget for 2009 was put to vote it was passed by 43 members out of 45 members in attendance voting in favor.

Even though Majlis approved a budget of Rf 13.6 billion for the year 2009, with the amendments passed to the budget the total amount of the budget is undetermined. Changes to the budget passed by the Majlis includes, the health insurance for all citizens, construction of a jail from the allocations provided to the home ministry for the purposes of building a police academy, bearing of all expenses of preschools, waiving off loans given to citizens, under a government revolving fund, to set up electricity in the islands, and cutting down the interest of agricultural loans from Finance Ministry's 671 no. Account by 3 percent.

Further Majlis passed to investigate why the previous government failed to provide health insurance after its pledges. Majlis on Thursday also passed to provide a monthly sum of Rf. 2000 to all citizens above 65 years, those needing special assistance, and the poor. Majlis also passed Rf. 15.8 million budget for Judicial Administration and transfer of its staff to Judicial Services Commission. The Rf. 241.6 million Majlis budget were also passed.

People's Majlis on Thursday also asked the government to provide full details of all loans taken by the government within 30 days and to formulate a contingency plan in the event the government fails to obtain anticipated funds for 2009 and banned the government from borrowing money from MMA's Ways and Means Account even if it fails to generate any of the anticipated funds.

Finance Minister Ali Hashim speaking at the Majlis expressed concerns over the inclusion of the member's amendments to the budget. He said such amendments without due consideration to the rapidly deteriorating global economy may cause the more deficits than previously expected. He said he intends to submit a supplementary budget within 3 months.


Visit facilitated US $ 600 M worth of financial aid - President

26th Dec: President Mohamed Nasheed , speaking to media on his arrival at Male' International Airport after concluding his three day official visit to India on Thursday , has said the discussions between the two countries was very successful and that he is confident of receiving US $ 600 million financial assistance from India.

President Nasheed said that US $ 50 million out of the US $ 100 million pledged is likely to be received in the coming weeks and that once received it will help boost the country's economy.

Responding to a question posed by Miadhu Daily, President said his immediate priority , when the US $ 50 million is received, would be pay up a large part of the loan government had borrowed from Maldives Central Bank ,MMA , earlier this month. He said once the MMA receives the money country's financial situation will begin to improve.

He further revealed that during his visit, Bank of Punjab had expressed interests in opening a branch office, here, in Male' and that he believes this would be facilitated in the coming months. He said discussion were also held with Indian government on raising the ceiling of loans issued from State Bank of India to Maldivian business community and that once this is arranged economic situation will further improve.

As a result of the visit "banks will soon get additional finance and this will start reaching the people soon , yes, I believe this was a very successful trip" President Nasheed said briefing the media from Male' International Airport.

President Nasheed said the primary objective of the visit was to work towards alleviating the current economic difficulties faced by the country. He said discussions were also held on a wide range of areas including trade, education, human resource development and tourism.

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