Qatar Government ‘to sign projects worth up to $50bn’

Qatar’s government is expected to sign contracts for construction projects worth as much as $50bn this year as it builds infrastructure needed to host the soccer World Cup in 2022, the central bank governor said yesterday.

The projects will be in transport, energy and other sectors, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 11th Meed Qatar Projects Conference, he said this “reflected the rapid and strong development of the Qatari economy and the extended growth and expansion expected in the next few years due to increasing need to achieve Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030.

Sheikh Abdullah did not give details of the new contracts, but his comments appeared to confirm that Qatar would begin stepping up infrastructure spending sharply this year.

After it won the right to host the World Cup in 2010, Qatar announced plans to spend some $140bn on projects including a new airport, port facilities, railways, stadiums and other infrastructure.

But many projects have been slower to get started than the business community expected. In the fiscal year that ended last March, actual government spending rose only 2.2%, undershooting the budget plan for the first time since 1990.

The government appears determined to pick up the pace, however, and a Planning Ministry report in December said state spending would climb 11.6% in calendar 2014.

In 2013, among other project awards, Qatar signed four design-and-build contracts worth approximately $8.2bn for phase one of the Doha metro. Its new airport, which cost around $15bn to construct, is expected to open for commercial operations later this year.

HE Sheikh Abdullah said that Qatar’s financial sector had seen an “enormous development” and made effective contributions to the country’s economic growth. He mentioned Qatar Central Bank (QCB) initiatives to achieve the goals of QNV 2030 with the launching of the strategy of supervisory and regulatory bodies being the recent one.

The governor said that QCB continued to take necessary monetary policy measures to boost the state’s financial stability and liquidity management.

Ashghal tops the list of biggest projects owners

Public Works Authority (Ashghal) tops the list of the country’s biggest projects owners with nearly $50bn worth of projects, a release issued by organisers of Qatar Projects Conference said yesterday. Qatari Diar is second in the list with $47.8bn followed by Qatar Rail ($40.2bn) and Barwa Real Estate ($25.8bn). Qatar Petroleum completes the list with about $18.3bn schemes currently out to tender, the largest of which are two massive petrochemical projects that will support Qatar’s National Vision 2030 by diversifying economic growth and maximising the potential benefits of the country’s gas reserves.

At the Qatar Projects Conference yesterday, Mohamed Nasser al-Hajri, Qatar Petroleum’s director (downstream ventures) detailed the organisation’s plans for future, saying: “The downstream sector represents a vital part of Qatar’s present and future economy and the upcoming mega projects underpinned the vision for continuing to develop and sustain Qatar’s National Vision 2030.”

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