Chinese amb responds to Nasheed: 'Cost per sq ft is MVR 1450'

Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives Zhang Lizhong has revealed that the cost per square feet of the 7000 social housing flats in Hulhumale Phase II is MVR 1450.

Ambassador Zhang Saturday said he obtained detailed information on the project contracted to China State Construction Engineering Company (CCCEC) to build social housing in Hulhumale'. Ambassador Zhang listed seven findings he obtained through his inquiry from the contractor regarding the project.

Speaking to the press earlier on Thursday, former president Mohamed Nasheed stated that the cost of the projects implemented under Chinese loans were contracted for twice the actual cost price.

"The flats built in Hulhumale' cost MVR 1900 per sq feet. This is [the price] without doors, tiling, painting and finishing. The most beautiful flats in Male' costs MVR 1200 [per sq feet], finishing included. This is MVR 1900. Therefore, the apartments have been built at double the price", said Nasheed.

The former President added that the actual cost can be calculated by assessing the flats. Nasheed said the government should repay the loan after checking the actual cost and deducting the extra. Nasheed said he would continue to speak about the Chinese loans if the government has to pay more than the actual cost.

However, the seven point explainer shared by the ambassador noted that the cost per sq feet included the finishing work of the buildings.

While the cost of each apartment is US$ 62,000, this figure includes the cost of developing the common area and parking of the building, said Ambassador Zhang. As each unit has a square area of 720.16 sq. ft, the cost per sq. ft would be MVR 1327, he said.

Additionally, the total project area is 5,041,124 sq. ft, therefore, the cost per sq. ft is increased to MVR 1450 with the inclusion of finishing work.

The unit price also includes geo-tech investigations, design and consultancy charges for all aspects of the project. While the project is being funded via a commercial loan, the price of the unit includes all financing charges ad insurances, said the post shared by Zhang.

In addition to the installment of a standby generator the the buildings, 14,000 piles were designed for the foundations work of the 16 towers of 25 storey each.

Furthermore, as the contract was assigned to CCCEC to be completed within 2 years, more manpower machinery and tools were required to expedite the work to meet the deadline, it explained.

The 700 housing unit project for Hulhumale' phase II was initiated by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom. While the physical work on the buildings commenced on December 19, 2017, many complaints have been made regarding the small size of the apartments. However former Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muizzu said the size was adequate compared to flats in male region.

While Ambassador Zhang as responded to Nasheed's allegations regarding the 'Hiyaa' flats, Nasheed and Ambassador have fired shots at each other on social media platforms in the past. Recently, the two disagreed over the total amount owed to China by the Maldivian Government.