President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that the social housing apartments built by the former government is neither affordable nor suitable for living.
Speaking at a campaign event of a main-ruling MDP's parliamentary candidate, President Solih said the apartments built in Hulhumale' do not fulfill the purpose for which the reclaimed suburbs is being developed. The president said that the preceding government had committed several actions that went against the original purpose of the project, while the land was reclaimed and developed to bring ease to the lives of the residents living in capital Male'. While the project has now reached its second phase, the purpose still remains unfulfilled, noted the president.
"Two-thirds of the Maldivian population resides in Male', in the greater Male' region. Studies show that if this keeps up, [the entire population] will be living here within the next 15 years. 50,000 people reside in Hulhumale' alone. There is a lot that has to be done to find an ease for the Male' area", said President Solih.
The President noted that Maldivian citizens are most in need of housing and no studies have been conducted thus far to ascertain the number of citizens who require housing. However, the work is now nearly at completion, after which it would be easier to identify the number of people who are in need of housing and the target areas, revealed President Solih.
The president further stressed what is paid a for social housing unit provided by the government should be affordable within the income earned by the citizens.
"The previous government has constructed several apartments as social housing units. However, these apartments are not affordable for the people. This is not all. These apartments are not suitable to be lived in. The flats awarded with a draw, without a draw, or simply given away include flats that do not even exist", President Solih said.
The President promised to provide housing for all citizens by the end of his term, and announced that a housing project targeted specifically for Male' residents will be inaugurated within the next two weeks.
The president further acknowledged the complaints regarding the high prices of government-issued flats and admitted that the issue needs to be addressed by the government. The president assured that he would resolve the issue.