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Saudi Fund extends two loans, including the airport extension project

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has today extended two loans to the government of Maldives, for the VIA terminal expansion project and to develop the Maldives' health sector.

Mariyath Mohamed
16 May 2024, MVT 19:47
From the ceremony held for the signing of the Loan Agreements between SFD and Maldives government.-- Photo: Mihaaru
Mariyath Mohamed
16 May 2024, MVT 19:47

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has today extended two loans to the government of Maldives.

The first is an additional USD 100 million (MVR 1.5 billion) loan for the Velana International Airport (VIA) terminal expansion project.

They have also issued a USD 50 million (MVR 770 million) loan to develop the Maldives' health sector.

SFD had earlier in October informed the Maldives government that they will be granting these loans.

The loans amount to a total of USD 150 million (MVR 2.3 billion).

Minister of Finance Dr Mohamed Shafeeq signed the loan agreements on behalf of the Maldives government, while the fund's CEO Sultan bin Abdul Rahman Al-Marshad, who arrived in the Maldives earlier today, signed on behalf of the Saudi Fund for Development.

SFD CEO Sultan bin Abdul Rahman Al-Marshad

While speaking at the ceremony, Minister Shafeeq noted that the SFD had extended aid towards many of the infrastructural development projects in Maldives. He highlighted that the fund had provided significant assistance even in overcoming the devastating effects of the 2004 tsunami.

"Our hope is that, even in future, we will continue to receive assistance from the Saudi Fund in important development projects," the Minister said.

Minister Shafeeq extended special thanks to the SFD Board for approving the USD 100 million loan towards the expansion of the Velana International Airport terminal.

Earlier in 2016, SFD had issued a loan of USD 100 million for airport expansion. Taken together, assistance provided by the SFD towards expanding the airport now remains at USD 200 million (MVR 3 billion).

Saudi Fund for Development

SFD CEO Marshad affirmed that it is a pleasure for the Fund to provide assistance in airport, health sector, housing, and other infrastructural projects.

He declared that, with the assistance of Saudi Arabia, VIA's capacity can be increased to 7 million passengers.

He revealed that the SFD had even previously contributed towards developing the airport; namely in 1978, 1981, 1992, 1999 and 2016.

"With this agreement today, SFD has now provided six loans towards the upgrading and development of the airport. The amount of these loans reach USD 285 million," he stated.

With the loan issued for development of the health sector, the government intends to build three 150 bed capacity hospitals.

SFD's CEO expressed his wish that this loan would create the facilities for people in the islands to receive quality healthcare services.