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Monday, July 26, 2021

Reuters: Qatar to postpone some construction projects as costs rise

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Competition for manpower, bureaucratic delays and rising costs are spurring Qatar to reschedule 15 percent of its development projects in the coming years, Reuters reports.

But key infrastructure and stadium projects would continue as planned, according to an unnamed government source cited by the newswire. Without going into specifics about which projects would be put on the back burner, he said:

“All projects associated directly with hosting the World Cup cannot be rescheduled since they have to finish by 2022. But there are others which can be moved.”

The news comes a day after Qatar’s Cabinet approved a draft budget for 2014/2015 that includes a chapter on major public projects.

That draft has not been shared publicly. But according to QNA, expenditures in the coming year would focus on “the major enterprises especially in the education, health, infrastructure and transport related sectors in addition to kick-starting in enterprises related to hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”

Delays

Qatar has announced a host of big development projects in the past year, while continuing to grapple with delays on major projects that were expected to be completed years ago, including the yet-unopened Hamad International Airport.

Reasons for delays in new projects could include last year’s government transition. In his first six months as Emir, Sheikh Tamim has reshuffled the country’s leadership, pledged to keep inflation down and promised to increase accountability in governance, which may have slowed the pace of contract awards.

According to Reuters’ source, amassing enough workers, materials and equipment to support the many infrastructure projects has also been a challenge for Qatar.

And finally, though the country can more than afford all of the developments it is undertaking, rising costs may be giving the nation’s leaders pause, the newswire states:

By delaying some projects, Qatar can ensure that its own banks and companies have the capacity to handle a larger share of the contracts, limiting the extent to which it needs to rely on bigger foreign firms.

Stadia

In terms of World Cup construction, the first stadium for the tournament was originally supposed to be completed by 2015. But site preparations in Al Wakrah only began this year, and the stadium is not expected to be completed until 2018 – putting Qatar three years behind schedule on this facility.

Still, Yasser al-Mulla, project manager at Al-Rayyan Precinct for the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, told a conference this week that all tournament projects were “on track.”

He did not specify a completion date, but a spokesman for the committee previously told Doha News that the stadiums are expected to be done by 2020.

In a statement, al-Mulla added that Qatar will issue 10 tenders this year for project managers and design consultants to work on the stadiums.

“We are in the advanced stages of design work for six stadiums and this year we will see five stadiums begin the early works on foundations and construction,” he said.

Details about the nation’s new budget are expected to be released early next month. Last year, former Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani endorsed the country’s highest ever general budget of QR210.6 billion.

That figure is expected to be even higher this year, as more World Cup projects get underway.

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