DOHA: Battling lean days and watching helplessly as international firms bag mega construction contracts, it is a dream come true for Qatari contracting companies as they have now been promised 30 percent share in giant development projects.
The government is making it mandatory for all global companies bagging mega infrastructure development work to share at least 30 percent of the contract with local entities.
A majority of Qatari contracting companies are in no position to bid for giant projects. “So they have been just looking helplessly at foreign firms walking away with lucrative contracts,” said a senior Qatar Chamber official. “So finally they have an opportunity to share the fruits of development that is taking place in preparation for the 2022 FIFA event,” said Nasser Al Mir.
The local contracting sector has actually been facing problems. “They fell on bad days a few years ago but now, with the decision of the government, they would witness heydays again,” he said.
Actually, there are quite a few big local companies that are in a position to bid for mega projects. “So the government’s decision comes as a boon for the private sector”. However, a building industry insider said it was still to be seen how the government’s decision would be implemented.
“We must wait for detailed regulations. It is still doubtful how smaller contracting companies would be made to take part in the projects and benefit since they don’t have adequate capital base,” said the insider.
The Chamber, representative body of the private sector, yesterday said it had been lobbying the government to issue the above diktat for more than four years.
“We urged the government in May 2009 to ask international companies bagging mega contracts to procure at least 30 percent of services and materials required for a project locally,” said the Chamber’s chairman, Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassem Al Thani.
He told Al Sharq, with the above decision, local contracting firms would benefit in many ways. They would learn from the experience of international companies, become abreast with new technology and knowhow.
“And, most importantly, at least 30 percent of the money spent on a project would be ploughed back into the national economy,” said the chairman. He lauded the timing of the project saying it has come at a time mega projects are to be tendered.