Pres returns fire: “Nasheed’s govt amassed bulk of Maldives’ debt”

President Abdulla Yameen speaks at PPM ceremony. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

President Abdulla Yameen speaks at PPM ceremony. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

President Abdulla Yameen on Sunday hit back at opposition criticism regarding the debt amassed by his government, declaring that his administration’s debt would amount to only MVR 1 billion without the “inherited” debt of former president Mohamed Nasheed’s government.

Speaking at a ceremony of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) at Dharubaaruge convention centre, Yameen stated that Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government had amassed a debt of MVR 29 billion at the end of its short three-year reign, while the current administration’s debt at the end of four years is MVR 14 billion.

Proclaiming that his government has paid MVR 13 billion of the debt from Nasheed’s regime, Yameen said that his government’s debt would be only MVR 1 billion without the “inherited” burden.

Yameen also touched upon the USD 300 million (MVR 5 billion) his government had had to pay GMR Group of India, as compensation for the agreement Nasheed’s government had made to hand over operations of the Maldives’ main airport to GMR. The contract was later broken by Nasheed’s successor, former president Mohamed Waheed. Yameen claimed that if his government had not had to pay the compensation, the state coffers would currently boast a surplus of MVR 4 billion.

Stating that the debt of MDP’s regime was 200 percent greater than the incumbent PPM government’s, Yameen blamed the “incompetence” of Nasheed’s government for the current debilitating debt of the Maldives. However, he vowed that his administration would provide a solution.

“This government’s debt is only MVR 14 billion. It has the capacity to settle that debt; it has the capacity to pay off the debts of previous governments. It also has the capacity to fulfil everything else that previous governments abandoned,” Yameen declared, challenging the opposition.

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