President Mohamed Nasheed has said development projects such as harbour construction and sewerage systems are progressing as planned.

Speaking on his radio address, he said contracts for harbour construction for Kudafaree and sewerage system for Miladhoo would be signed in the coming week. The government would also be able to conclude contracts for harbour repair and sewerage for Ihavandhoo, said the President.

On housing, President Nasheed said the government would be able to close contracts for housing units in the coming weeks.

He added the projects were being financed from bilateral grant assistance and loan facilities.
He said budget constraints still remained and the increasing revenue was necessary to ease the difficulties.

The President said the fiscal situation has forced the government to slash government employees’ salaries and reduce costs as much as possible before the end of this year.

He added the cost cutting measures were necessary to stabilise public finances and seek assistance from bilateral partners and international financial corporations.

In his address, the President also spoke on the unrest of 19 and 20 September 2003 at Maafushi Jail after Evan Naseem – who was an inmate at Maafushi Jail – was found tortured to death.
The President said: “The government is determined to prevent inhumane punishment.

“The government will be steadfast in protecting freedom of expression and other fundamental rights for all citizens.”

Concluding his speech he spoke on the World Maritime Day to be marked on the 24th of September and on his scheduled visit to New York.

The President will begin a visit to New York on Saturday to participate in the UN Climate Summit and the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly. He will also speak at a conference being organised by Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

The President said his participation in the meetings will benefit the Maldives.

The President’s visit is sponsored by third parties.