Parliament on Monday passed an amendment to the Maldivian Land Act, mandating the government expedite the transfer of land plots allocated under the Binveriya scheme to their rightful owners within three months.

The Binveriya scheme, initiated by the former administration, was designed to address the housing crisis in the Malé region. It involved issuing land plots to residents of Malé from newly reclaimed land in Giraavarufalhu, Gulhifalhu, and Hulhumalé.

The amendment to the Land Act was proposed on 18 December by the MP for South Galolhu, Meekail Naseem, on behalf of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). The bill was passed at Monday’s parliamentary sitting with the unanimous backing of 35 lawmakers.

The amendment bill added articles to Sections 12 and 13 of the law. It mandates the government to hand over land plots issued under housing schemes to the rightful recipients within six months from the date the final list of recipients is published.

Furthermore, the bill states that if land plots have not been handed over to the rightful owners at the time of the bill’s ratification, the government should hand over those plots within three months from the date of ratification. The amendment also mandates the government to hand over deeds to the land plots within six months of publishing the final list of recipients.

Under the Binveriya scheme, the Solih administration disclosed a list of 9,003 beneficiaries slated to receive land plots. However, to date, official documentation affirming ownership or receipt of land plots have only been issued to 8,394 individuals.

The Mohamed Muizzu administration recently instituted an additional provision to accommodate those who have yet to receive their deeds or official land ownership documentation. Despite the parliamentary passage of the amendment to the Land Act, the bill will only attain the status of law upon its ratification by President Muizzu.