MVR 411 mln allocated for Male'-Thilafushi bridge

MVR 411 million has been allocated in the proposed budget for 2020 for the development of a bridge linking Male' and industrial island Thilafushi.

According to the proposed budget, MVR 7.9 billion was allocated for economic and infrastructural development. While 84% of the budget is focused on capital expenditure, 16% was allocated for reccurent expenditure.

The budget proposed MVR 411 million to connect the Greater Male' area via a bridge linking Thilafushi and Male'. A further MVR 247 million was allocated for the reclamation and development of a port in Gulhifalhu.

"It has been 30 years since any changes were brought to the Male' port. This has caused many difficulties in unloading, storing and transporting goods", said Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer presenting the budget to the parliament on Monday.

The budget also allocated MR 150 million for the development of a national transport network, and MVR 853 million for the development of Velana International Airport. MVR 247 million was proposed for a sustainable energy project.

While several road development and reclamation projects have been planned, MVR 955 million was allocated for reclaiming land in different islands across the nation. A further MVR 135 million was allocated for road development and land reclamation in Addu City, and MVR 79 million for Male' road development. The budget proposes MVR 61 million for road development in Fuvahmulah City.

A total budget of MVR 37.5 billion was proposed for next year by the Finance Ministry. While the government has budgeted for MVR 37.5 billion as expenditure for next year, the estimated revenue is MVR 29.92, leaving the archipelago with a budget deficit of MVR 5.7 billion.

The proposed budget for next year will likely invite more criticism after the new government since taking office nearly a year ago has thus far failed to fully utilize this year's budget despite getting a supplementary budget in August.

An initial budget of MVR 30.2 billion was approved for the current year by the parliament. However, the government in August got the parliament to sign off on an additional MVR 1.7 billion as a budget supplement.

The government has come under heavy criticism from the opposition for failing to launch major infrastructure projects this year with the budget reflecting the unused funds for PSIP.