Speaking on the government’s decision to hold this year’s SAARC Summit in Addu, President Mohamed Nasheed has said in a system of good governance, successes of foreign policy should result in domestic progress.

Addressing the people of Hithadhoo after launching the work of Hithadhoo’s main road development project and inaugurating services of Hithadhoo water and sewerage system, the President said Rf700 million were allocated for development projects in Addu. He said out of this Rf110 million were earmarked for the development Addu Convention Centre which is to be built to hold this year’s SAARC Summit.

Last year the government announced that it would hold this year’s meeting of heads of state and government of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Addu, following the success of its bid to host this year’s SAARC Summit in the Maldives.

Further the President added that the government would continue to work to bring the benefits and pride of hosting successful international events such as the SAARC Summit in the Maldives.

In the address, the President also highlighted the progress the government has made towards achieving its election pledges, which now forms the basis of the government’s development policy. In this regard, he noted the government’s achievements in Addu towards ensuring social security, affordable healthcare, quality education and establishing a nationwide transport network.

Highlighting the successes of the government in combating narcotics and drug trafficking, the President said number of people arrested on drug abuse charges have declined by 46 per cent, while incidence of juvenile drug addiction have decreased by 40 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009.

The President further revealed that government would establish a rehabilitation centre with the capacity of 50 patients in Addu in 2011 as part of the efforts to strengthen drug rehabilitation programmes. He said Rf2.5 million was assigned to address drug related issues in Addu.

Underscoring the importance of providing opportunities for the youth to participate in the development, the President said the government aims to increase the employment opportunities in Addu.

Among other government pledges, the President highlighted the success of the government’s policy to provide affordable housing for all. He said providing housing on instalment basis with easy financing was a concept introduced by this government. The President noted that Housing Development Finance Corporation has now begun providing housing loans in Addu as part of its new outreach programme.

President Nasheed said the government’s aim was not to centralize the power in the capital, but rather decentralizing the government to all regions of the country and providing a healthy living environment for the people in the capital.

Earlier today, the President laid the foundation stone of the Addu Convention Centre in Hithadhoo for the SAARC Summit that will be held later this year. He also visited Hulhudhoo-Meedhoo, Feydhoo, Maradhoo-Feydhoo and Maradhoo this morning.