Businessman and Member of Parliament, Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, has once again approached the government for a sovereign guarantee to secure a substantial loan intended for the development of a luxury resort, officials revealed on Tuesday. The proposed development, known as Emerald Lagoon, is expected to feature over 1,500 rooms and is estimated to cost around US$165 million.

Siyam, who serves as the Chairman and Managing Director of Emerald Resorts Private Limited, officially resubmitted his request in a letter addressed to President Dr Mohamed Muizzu on 7 April. The funding, intended to be procured from a Chinese bank, hinges on the provision of a sovereign guarantee by the Maldivian government.

According to the contents of the letter, which has been made available to the media, negotiations with China’s Shanghai Construction Group to undertake the development are already underway. However, the Chinese lending institution requires a formal sovereign guarantee from the Maldives government as a prerequisite for loan approval.

This request marks a repeated attempt by Siyam to secure government backing for his projects. In January 2018, the administration of former President Abdulla Yameen issued a sovereign guarantee to facilitate a similar loan for Siyam. Furthermore, in 2017, Siyam’s company obtained a US$127 million loan, backed by a sovereign guarantee, to develop another resort named Siyam World in Noonu Dhigurah, which has since commenced operations.

Despite the businessman’s previous success in securing government support and repaying the loans—even amidst financial challenges posed by the pandemic—the Ministry of Finance has yet to confirm receipt of the latest proposal for a sovereign guarantee under the current rules, which stipulate specific eligibility criteria for such financial endorsements.

The ongoing political alignment of Siyam’s Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) with President Muizzu’s government could play a critical role in the outcome of this request. Siyam, who was recently re-elected to his fourth consecutive term in the Meedhoo constituency, has shown substantial political leverage by supporting President Muizzu in the second round of the presidential election, breaking a coalition with the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to back former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the first round.