Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail has said the government is working to develop southernmost Addu City as the country's first economic center. The minister made the statement while speaking at a ceremony held Saturday night to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the tourism company, Resort Life.
Speaking at the ceremony, Fayyaz said decentralizing the Maldives economy is a high priority of the administration. Under the efforts to decentralize the economy, special economic zones will be established across the country, said the minister. The government hopes to develop Addu City as the central economic hub, he added.
The minister said efforts to achieve the target are already underway. In this regard, he said that efforts to develop Gan International Airport further, develop Addu's water and sanitation system, and expand the tourism sector are ongoing. The goal is to lessen the dependency on the capital city, Male', he noted.
Fayyaz acknowledged that the closure of the resorts in Addu City as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted the atoll's economy. However, the government is seeking a solution to the issue, he assured.
The minister further said local companies have qualified and capable employees. Several Maldivian companies can be expanded as international companies, he said. He expressed hope that such companies would soon expand their business overseas and assured that the government would assist in achieving the target.