Bahrain's infrastructure spending continues at brisk pace

Kingdom awarded 1,022 tenders in the first nine months of 2020 worth a total of $2.7bln

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Buildings are under construction to accommodate the influx of business as the banking industry continues to grow November 25,2002 in Manama, Bahrain.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Buildings are under construction to accommodate the influx of business as the banking industry continues to grow November 25,2002 in Manama, Bahrain.

Getty Images/Joe Raedle

MANAMA: Infrastructure spending is continuing at a brisk pace in Bahrain despite the challenges of the pandemic, shows data from the Tender Board – the country’s government procurement regulator.

The kingdom awarded 1,022 tenders in the first nine months of 2020 worth a total of $2.7 billion.

In terms of contract value, the oil sector took the lion’s share awarding 134 tenders worth $733.8 million, followed by the construction and engineering industry, winning 162 tenders worth a combined $704.8m – clearly underscoring the government’s continued commitment to its extensive pipeline of major infrastructure projects, currently valued at around $32bn.

The construction and engineering sector was followed by the aviation sector, the materials and equipment sector, and finally the services sector, which saw a total of $501.3m million, $471.5m and $256.1m worth of tenders awarded respectively.

While bringing up the rear in terms of value, the services sector led in the number of contracts, at 361.

Commenting on the new figures, Tender Board chairman Shaikh Nayef bin Khalid Al Khalifa said: “Despite the ongoing global economic challenges, the first nine months of 2020 have seen Bahrain award more than 1,000 contracts valued at well over $2bn to businesses. This robust performance is indicative of the government’s commitment and ability to remain open for business even in times of crisis. Of particular note is the consistently high value of contracts in the kingdom’s thriving construction and engineering sector, testament to the rich opportunity on offer owing to our extensive, multi-billion dollar pipeline of projects there.”

As for the purchasing authorities, Tatweer Petroleum topped the list for highest total value of tenders issued, worth a combined $711.7m.

Gulf Air followed close behind, awarding $488m worth of tenders, followed by the Electricity & Water Authority; the Works, Municipalities Affairs & Urban Planning Ministry; and the Housing Ministry, which awarded a combined $343.6m, $254.3m and $240.4m of contracts respectively.

The positive figures follow closely on from the release of equally encouraging data released by the Tender Board halfway through the year, when a total of 769 tenders were awarded with an aggregate value of $1.7bn. The GCC Development Fund has seen a steady expansion in the projects it funds in spite of the pandemic, with a project portfolio worth $7.4bn in committed funds. The cumulative value of tendered projects increased by $97m to $4.9bn by the end of Q2-2020, an increase of 2pc when compared with the level as of Q1- 2020.

Highlights included a record number of tenders awarded to the SME sector, indicative of government support for a sector that it regards as the engine for post-Covid economic recovery.

avinash@gdn.com.bh

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