The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has pledged US$100 million for the completion of the new terminal at Velana International Airport (VIA) and US$50 million for the Maldives’ health sector development, it has been revealed. A senior official at the Saudi Embassy in the Maldives confirmed to local media on Sunday that a total amount of MVR 2.3 billion has been allocated to the Maldives.

The embassy also confirmed that the funds, released last week, were provided at the request of the Maldivian government.

The SFD had previously provided a US$100 million loan in 2016 for the development of the airport, bringing the total funds it has pledged towards the development of the airport to US$200 million (MVR 3 billion).

The new terminal, contracted to Saudi Arabia’s Bin Laden Group during the Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom administration, is expected to be completed in 2025, although progress remains slow.

The SFD has also been providing substantial assistance to the Maldives’s development projects during the Ibrahim Mohamed Solih administration – with two loans of US$25 million (MVR 385 million); one to expand the fisheries sector and the other towards housing development.