PNC Chairperson credits Dr. Muizzu for securing US$ 80 mln for VIA project

The Chairperson of the People's National Congress (PNC) and Director General of Transition, Abdul Raheem Abdulla, has stated that the USD 80 million (MVR 1.8 billion) recently obtained for the development of Velana International Airport (VIA) was secured through the efforts of President-Elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and not by the outgoing government. Abdul Raheem's remarks were posted on Facebook in response to Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer's statement that the outgoing government obtained the USD 80 million.

Minister Ameer discussed the VIA funds after Transitional Spokesperson Mohamed Firzul Abdulla Khaleel informed reporters on Wednesday that the additional funds of USD 80 million required for the VIA project were arranged by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (AFD) following a request made by Dr. Muizzu to Abu Dhabi leaders during his recent visit to the UAE.

In response to Ameer's comments, Abdul Raheem accused Ameer of spreading outright lies and stated that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's government did not secure the USD 80 million for the airport project. He clarified that the funds were obtained by Dr. Muizzu during his informal visit to the UAE last Monday. Abdul Raheem emphasized that Dr. Muizzu's victory in the last presidential election indicated that the people rejected the outgoing government's deception and fraud.

"The results of the last presidential election very clearly show that the people do not accept the deception and fraud of the government of Ibu Solih," he said.

The government has included MVR 1 billion in next year's budget to expedite and complete the VIA project. Earlier in October, the Saudi Fund for Development also pledged an additional $100 million (MVR 1.5 billion) for the VIA project. The completion of the VIA project is expected to enable the airport to serve approximately 7.2 million tourists annually.