The value of public projects awarded in Saudi Arabia nearly doubled in 2021 after the world’s dominant oil exporter largely eased curbs associated with Coronavirus, according to a report published in the local press. 

The report by the Saudi-American Business Council showed the value of contracts awarded by the government stood at around 142 billion Saudi riyals ($37.8 billion) in 2021  compared with nearly 79.5 billion riyals ($21.2  billion) in 2020. 

The report, published by Sabq and other Saudi news websites, showed contracts awarded in the fourth quarter of 2021 hit a record 7-year quarterly high of nearly 70.2 billion riyals ($18.7 billion) after most Coronavirus restrictions were removed and the Gulf Kingdom pushed ahead with mega projects within its  ambitious “Vision2030” economic diversification scheme. 

The report said there was a large increase in contracts in most sectors, mainly construction, real estate, hydrocarbon, and electricity. 

Oil and gas had the lion’s share of awarded contracts in the fourth quarter, standing at around 34.9 billion riyals ($9.3 billion), nearly half the total contracts. 

A yearly breakdown showed the value of awarded projects climbed to its highest level in nearly a decade of around 252.9 billion ($67.44 billion) in 2015. 

It dipped to nearly 108 billion riyals ($28.8 billion) in 2016 then recovered  to 117.5 billion riyals ($31.3 billion) in 2017 before falling again to 100.8 billion riyals ($26.88 billion) in 2018, according to the report, which showed the value sharply rebounded to around 197.1 billion riyals ($52.5 billion) in 2019. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)