'Will provide allowance for flat rent payment', says Nasheed

The next MDP government will build a large number of flats, the main-ruling party's President and Parliament Speaker, Mohamed Nasheed, has said.

Nasheed, who is contesting against President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in MDP's presidential primary slated for January 28, made the statement while meeting with the residents of the Hiyaa neighborhood in Hulhumale' on Wednesday.

At the community meeting, Nasheed said that instead of implementing housing projects from the government budget or government loans, a large number of flats should be built simultaneously on a commercial basis. He said the government should be able to provide housing without incurring debt. The biggest debt of the state is currently the debt incurred for the development of Hulhumale,' he said, adding that the recent tax hike became necessary to pay off the government debt.

"The state has not restructured the debt, and today, in 2023, it has to raise taxes and raise money to repay the debt," Nasheed said.

Nasheed said President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the leader of MDP, made a presidential pledge to provide an allowance for flat residents who find it difficult to pay their rent. However, the government still needs to arrange such a thing, and the government still needs to build flats in the Male' area, he said. Instead of providing housing only in Hulhumale and areas near Male', flats should also be built on inhabited islands, said Nasheed.

"These islands in Male' atoll - Thulusdhoo, Huraa, Himmafushi - these islands should be developed, and their population should be increased. An increase in population would be beneficial for those living in these islands," Nasheed said.

Nasheed added that he had always believed that the state, especially one run by MDP, could provide housing to the people.

"These things should be done in such a way that it does not burden state finances," Nasheed said.