In his weekly radio address, aired Friday morning on the Voice of Maldives, President Mohamed Nasheed has said Indian companies have expressed interest investing in the northern region.

The President said he was very confident of one of those companies would invest in Hanimaadhoo airport to upgrade it to an international airport.

The President also revealed that another company was also interested in investing in a transshipment port in the northern region.

The government was hopeful of reaching agreements with the interested companies in the near future.

In his radio address, the President highlighted the excellent bilateral relationship between India and the Maldives.

The President said: “Since the new government assumed office, we have been strengthening the relationship to the utmost benefit of the Maldivian people.”

The President, in his radio address, said India was also ready to assist the Maldivian government in alleviating its dollar shortage.

Earlier this year, the Indian government provided US$100 million credit facility to assist the Maldives meet budget difficulties.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also earlier assured Indian assistance in the Maldives’ effort to seek funds from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to address budget deficit and restructuring the public sector.

Continuing his radio address, the President also spoke on the Indo-Maldives border-surveillance cooperation.

He said Indian assistance in border patrolling and surveillance was crucial to free its waters of illegal fishers.

“The government’s goal was to ensure that it is Maldivian fishermen who fish in its waters, and benefit from them,” said the President.

The President also underscored India was ready to assist in the democratic consolidation process in the Maldives.

India, President Nasheed said, has always given the assurance of protecting democracy in the Maldives.

Privatisation programme for Ghiyaasuddeen school

In this week’s radio address, President Nasheed also spoke on government’s policies for privatizing Ghiyaasuddeen school.

He assured that the government’s plans would not disadvantage the school or the students.

The President said the purpose of privatisation programme was to improve the education system in the Maldives and upgrading some schools as international education providers.

The President added, under government’s plans, Ghiyaasuddeen school would be upgraded as an international school.

The President said although privatisation will introduce tuition fees, continuing students were not required to pay the fees.

With privatisation, he said, the government would also provide a subsidy to those students who are unable to pay their tuition fees.

The weekly radio address was recorded during President Nasheed’s ongoing visit to India.