Qatar issues tender for phase one of Doha Metro project

DOHA: Qatar has issued a new tender for phase one of its Doha Metro, a key infrastructure project in the Gulf country as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.

Three sources, who did not wish to be identified since the information was not public, said the tender, issued earlier this month, was for the rolling stock, systems, depot facilities, tracks and other aspects of Doha Metro. The project has been under scrutiny due to delays in giving contracts and starting work.

The tender, which could go over 8 billion riyals ($2.2 billion) according to one source, would be the final one for phase one of the metro.

“It’s a big one and all major global companies are bidding for the deal,” said one source. The Qatari authorities are expected to award the contract in the next five months.

Last year Qatar awarded four design-and-build contracts worth $8.2 billion for phase one of the Doha Metro to local and international companies, including Italian construction firm Impregilo S.P.A and France’s Vinci Construction among others.

Many projects have been slower to get started than the business community expected, apparently because of bureaucratic and planning problems.

In the fiscal year that ended last March, actual government spending rose only 2.2 percent, undershooting the budget plan for the first time since 1990.

The ambitious $15 billion airport has yet to open for commercial operations, despite plans for a launch last year.

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

It said Tuesday that contracts for construction projects worth as much as $50 billion would be signed this year, an indication that the Gulf country was stepping up infrastructure spending sharply this year.

After it won the right to host the 2022 World Cup four years ago, Qatar announced plans to spend $140 billion on projects including a new airport, port facilities, railways, stadiums and other infrastructure.

The projects will be in transport, energy and other sectors, Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said at a conference held by regional media group MEED, according to the official news agency QNA.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 20, 2014, on page 5.




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