KSA move to welcome foreign contractors hailed

Leading industry figure says change will help address project delays

Delayed projects like King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh may benefit from the ruling.
Delayed projects like King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh may benefit from the ruling.

A leading figure in Saudi Arabia’s construction industry has welcomed the decision by the country’s government to ease restrictions on the entry of foreign contractors into the market.

Fahd Al Hammadi, chairman of the national contracting committee, told the Arabic language daily Aleqtisadiah that the move, which allows for well-known foreign contracting companies to enter the Saudi market without being subject to existing rating procedures, would help address the longstanding problem of project delays in the country.

Hammadi added that the decision to welcome these “major global companies” would improve the quality of the country’s contracting market which has been “flooded by small and unreal firms working under the cover of foreign investment.”

“The country has not benefited from those [smaller] firms...we welcome the entry of large foreign investors who are capable of executing major projects. The country needs these investors and our contractors will benefit from them in terms of technology,” he said.

“This decision will curb unnecessary investments...we, as Saudi contractors, welcome any contractor who will cooperate with us...this will help change some of the rules that have caused the problem of project delays and stalling,” he added.

Addressing fears that the new rules would negatively affect small and medium Saudi contracting firms, Hammadi said: “On the contrary, we expect the new rules to organise those firms better and enable them to gain experience and culture of good work.”

Hammadi, who was re-elected chairman of the committee last month, said local contractors would discuss the new rules during talks with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Sagia) next week.

“We need to know the details of that decision and the number of companies applying to work in the Kingdom,” he added.

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