Tuesday, February 23, 2010

IFC Helps Government of Maldives Attract Private Investment to Modernize Malé Airport".

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is working with the government of Maldives to upgrade and modernize the Malé International Airport to improve efficiencies, provide better services to passengers, and boost the country's tourism potential.

IFC, as Lead Transaction Advisor to the government of Maldives, is helping Malé International Airport attract private investors, by structuring a concession agreement between the government and investors, and developing a tariff fixation framework and an investment plan. Private investors are expected to bring international managerial capabilities and best practices to help the airport operate at full potential, while safeguarding the interests of shareholders, customers, and employees.

Maldives copes with severe regional disparities across its 200 inhabited islands or atolls. The government is actively pursuing reforms to address these imbalances by enhancing fiscal resources and evolving its role as an enabler of development. The tourism sector is a major contributor to the country's economic sustenance and improvements planned at the Malé International Airport are critical to its continued growth.

Through a concession to a private investor for the Maldives Airport Company, the government is undertaking the first public-private-partnership initiative to improve governance and profitability of its state-owned enterprises. This will help the government free up scarce resources to pursue poverty-alleviation policies and measures.

The tender process, launched with IFC's assistance in October 2009, is now in the implementation phase. Six international and experienced airport operations firms have been shortlisted. IFC and the Maldives government are getting ready for the launch of the next step of issuing the request for proposals and other related documents by the end of February 2010. To learn more about the project, visit www.maleairportprivatization.com.

IFC has experience in helping state-owned enterprises attract private investment in the air transport sector, including Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia, and national airlines such as Air Vanuatu, Kenya Airways, and Polynesian Airlines.

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries-including by supporting infrastructure development in countries like Maldives.

To learn more about IFC's activities in South Asia, visit www.ifc.org/southasia.

Source: indiaprwire.com

Implement Media Council Law despite loopholes - MJA

Implement Media Council Law despite loopholes - MJA The Maldives Journalist Association urged President Mohamed Nasheed to implement the long delayed Media Council Law despite its loopholes – a bill passed in 2008 in parliament.

The Association said implementing the law even with its loopholes is a “lesser evil” than not having it at all.

The law gives the Media Council statutory powers to investigate public complaints against broadcast and print media. Yet that will also do away with the Department of Information regulating the editorial content in the private media.

“While the Media Council Law had many loopholes, it was still the lesser evil, and therefore the best choice for now, as the law will help bring an end to the Department of Information’s regulating and meddling in media content of private media organizations,” the Association said in a statement.

The Maldives Media Council Bill was passed in Parliament on October 27, 2008 and was ratified by the ex-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on November 4, 2008 -- just days before he left presidency after losing the country’s first multi party election.

The MJA has repeatedly called for its speedy implementation and its latest request came at a recent meeting the association had with the National Planning Council (NPC).

The MJA told the NPC that the delay in implementing the law is “stifling free expression and allowing a government authority to regulate media content.”

However, the Association is concerned over certain clauses in the law that will restrict “breathing space to the private independent media of Maldives.”

The law states that the council will compromise of 15 members -- 8 elected by media organizations and 7 members from public.

However, the Department will nominate the 14 names from the public of whom 7 will be elected thereafter.

And the MJA believes that the Department can still control the media, through the public composition of the Council apart from the fact that the state-owned TVM and VOM journalists too can be elected among the 8 members.

When contact the President of Maldives Journalist Association Ahmed Zahir told the Asian Tribune that he believes “media should be allowed to be regulated by the media itself.”

“There should be self-regulation in the media,” he said adding that statutory powers vested in the Council will undermine press freedom in the Maldives.

Meanwhile, Article 19, a media watchdog, too has voiced concerns over certain clauses in the law.

Calling it is a “good law” aimed at safeguarding the media, the Article 19 however has then recommended nominations of the public members to the Council to be made by someone other than the Minister since it is a highly political post.

“For example, the university could nominate one person, the bar association another and so on,” it has said.

At the same time, a number of other important matters -- such as protection of children, advertising, etc. -- are not dealt with in the law.

It also pointed out that “the grounds for complaint are not defined, i.e. anyone may complain about anything, although the Council may reject groundless complaints” as another loophole.

However, President Mohamed Nasheed has responded to the MJA saying the law will be implemented soon.

Source: asiantribune.com