Minister of Health, Abdulla Ameen, announced on Sunday that the agreement signed over to Indian company, Noorul Islam International Pvt Ltd (NII), to develop and run Kulhudhuffushi Regional Hospital was not annulled by the previous government.
NII is an 80 percent shareholder of Noorul Islam Educational that runs NIMS hospital in India. Kulhudhuffushi Hospital was signed over to NII for 50 years during President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration. However, disputes between two shareholders, Faizal Khan and Ali Usaid, resulted in a decline in the quality of services provided by the hospital.
Following the counsel of the then Attorney General, efforts were made to annul the agreement when NII failed to resolve the issues within the time frame allowed by the previous government.
Minister Ameen revealed to local media Mihaaru, that there were no written documents attesting to any discussions or efforts that took place to resolve any issues. He further noted that the Health Ministry had not been actively involved at the time, and that people were included individually in providing any solutions.
The Minister stated that discussions were allegedly held in Sri Lanka even though there are no details or evidence regarding these discussions. He added that the agreement was not formally nullified.
According to Minister Ameen, there were various issues regarding the agreement.
The Maldivian government has to offer compensation if the agreement with NII is annulled. Minister Ameen announced that attempts were being made to find a solution to this problem.
The Minister guaranteed that however the discussions end, Kulhudhuffushi Hospital will be developed into a tertiary hospital under President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration.
Even though NII brought over machinery in order to run the hospital, there is no involvement of the company in any of the operations. Minister Ameen guaranteed that there will be no hindrance in services while the hospital is being run under Ministry of Health.
Minister Ameen added that he was not pleased with the quality of service presently provided by the hospital. He made a personal visit to the hospital soon after he was appointed as Minister.
Minister Ameen noted that better services could be provided even with the current equipment in the hospital. He also expressed concern that people from neighbouring islands had to travel in order to make a doctor’s appointment, and spoke about needing to finding easier alternatives.
The Health Ministry is now working on bringing about necessary changes to develop Kulhudhuffushi Hospital.