President Dr Mohamed Muizzu has levelled allegations against the previous administration, concerning the stalled development of hospitals in seven islands. The projects, initially supported by the Kuwait Fund, have been mired in controversy following claims by President Muizzu that his predecessor’s government exhibited negligence, leading to the Fund withdrawing its financial support.

Responding to these accusations, former Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer insisted that the agreement with the Kuwait Fund for issuing loans for the hospital projects was intact up until the end of Solih’s administration. Ameer’s remarks were aimed at countering President Muizzu’s assertions made on Monday, suggesting that the previous government’s inaction and procedural lapses were to blame for the failure to kickstart the hospital constructions.

The construction of 30-bed hospitals on seven islands, backed by the Kuwait Fund, was formalised in May during Solih’s term, with contracts distributed between Duplex Pvt Ltd for four islands and Anand Building Pvt Ltd for the remaining three. However, the initiative, valued around MVR 680 million, faced delays attributed to political uncertainties in Kuwait, which impacted the fund’s management and their decision on the loan issuance.

President Muizzu’s criticism extends beyond the mere delay, pointing towards a failure by the previous administration to adhere to necessary procedures for securing and utilising the funds, resulting in the Kuwait Fund retracting its support. He has pledged to find alternative means to ensure the construction of high-quality hospitals in the affected islands, including Hanimaadhoo, underscoring a commitment to enhance health services.

This dispute has also shed light on budgeting discrepancies and the procurement process challenges faced by the projects. Initial tenders were rejected due to bids exceeding budget forecasts, and further attempts were stymied by a lack of essential approvals from the Kuwait Fund.

President Muizzu also criticised the former government’s overall development strategy as lacking ambition, promising a more rapid and comprehensive approach under his leadership. He highlighted Hanimaadhoo’s potential as an economic hub, aiming for balanced development and a boost in tourism.