President Mohamed Nasheed has said the Maldivian people and the economy have begun to see the benefits of opening up of the economy for private investments. He made the remark, speaking at the Regional Export Awards presentation ceremony of Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) of India, held at Kurumba Maldives, this evening.

President Nasheed said, until now the Maldivian economy was centrally planned and heavily regulated. He said this had “prevented growth, repelled investment and thwarted people’s aspirations.”

In this regard, he said India has reformed its economy to increase private participation and opened up its economy to the world. These reforms, he said, were strengthening Indian economy and lifting millions out of poverty.

President Nasheed said, learning from the experiences of India and many other countries, the government has begun to open up the Maldivian economy. He said “we do not believe that the state can or should be the engine of economic growth.”

Speaking on the benefits of opening up of economy to the market and private investments, President Nasheed highlighted the benefits of the agreement with the Apollo Hospitals of India to upgrade Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital with a US$25 million investment.

He said, as a result of this agreement “people will have access to high quality and affordable healthcare.”

Private investors are also at the forefront of the first public transports system that will connect all inhabited islands with ferry services.

Government has also successfully attracted a number of international investors to invest in its housing, and electricity and energy projects.

The President assured that private investments in housing and energy “will provide new homes and cheaper electricity.”

Noting the significant increase in the Indian investments to the Maldives over the past year, the President welcomed the Indian business looking to invest in the Maldives.

Before concluding his address at this evening’s ceremony, the President repeated his calls for business to seize the opportunities presented by climate change to invest in clean and green technologies.

He reiterated his belief that “the winners of tomorrow will be those companies that corner these green markets today.”

At the ceremony, Chairman of EEPC India Southern Region Shri R. K. Mutha presented a memento to the President.