Business Politics

Govt awarded only fraction of Hulhumale flat project to China firm: HDC

Overhead shot of government flats in Hulhumale. PHOTO/MIHAARU

Amidst recent foreign reports that the Maldives has awarded development of housing units for 80,000 people in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale to a Chinese state-run firm, Housing Development Corporation (HDC) on Wednesday clarified that the government handed over the development of only 16 out of 62 towers to that company.

“Hiyaa” is the government’s largest affordable housing project, which comprises construction of 62 towers of 25-storeys each in Hulhumale’s second phase of development. Slated to be completed in 2019, the project was inaugurated by president Abdulla Yameen last Saturday night.

Though the government had not disclosed details of the project, Chinese media reported Tuesday that China State Construction Engineering had secured the bid for USD 434 million (MVR 6.7 billion).

Following the news reports, an official of HDC explained on Wednesday that the government awarded only the first 7,000 flats of the mega-project to China State Construction Engineering, which are to be developed as 16 towers of 25-storeys. The official confirmed that the company has already commenced some aspects of development.

HDC further revealed that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has issued a loan for the project but did not disclose the total amount. According to HDC, the government secured the loan, which is the largest taken for a housing project yet, for an interest of less than four percent. The loans are to be repaid within 15 years.

The 7,000 social housing flats will measure 550 square feet each, featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

HDC had earlier revealed that 15,000 housing units are planned to be developed in Hulhumale’s second phase of development. The government has reclaimed 240 hectares of land for the second phase.

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