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Editor's Desk

Pratap Padode Focus on Qatar!

Look at how Qatar is performing. Over nine months, the country - entities under the Tenders and Auction Law - is known to have spent $10.62 billion on projects bagged by private companies and institutions, including SMEs.

The government has been focusing on private sector participation, and evidently, it has undertaken several initiatives to ensure that SMEs contribute even more extensively to infrastructure. Testimony to this was also the recently held contracting conference and expo Moushtarayat 2017 - inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, HE Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid Al Mahmoud. Reports indicate that the SME-dedicated procurement and contracting event has offered about 2,000 business opportunities worth over QR 2.5 billion.

In another move to increase the private sectors' role across various development projects, the country is enhancing its public-private partnership (PPP) law. Developing projects under PPP will help reduce the capex stress in Doha, bringing much relief to the city that is spending $70 billion on infrastructure in the lead up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Also, as part of its 2030 National Vision, the country has been working towards transforming itself into a knowledge-based economy; the focus has been to grow its healthcare, education and tourism sectors.

Moreover, as per recent reports, the sectors that have been identified as offering the best potential for PPP include hospitality, logistics, education and real estate. And, the good news is that Doha has begun the study for the first PPP project in the hospitality sector. Also, in the past, utility projects have been delivered through PPP. So, if the question is what will it take for the Qatar PPP projects market to get off the ground - going along with certain opinions cited in the news, my answer would be - structuring attractive deals for investors and developing a pipeline of schemes under PPP. This apart, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) has been laying plans to strengthen the country's power sector. It recently awarded contracts worth QR 8.3 billion - the largest ever in the history of Kahramaa. This is part of Phase-13 of the ambitious Qatar Power Transmission System Expansion plan. The scope of work includes construction of 77 substations and laying of more than 450 km of extra-high-voltage cables.

Additionally, works are on to ensure generation of 200 MW through renewable energy sources in Duhail, mainly solar, by 2020, following which, the aim is to generate another 500 MW from renewable energy.

This and more, Qatar continues to be a magnet for investment with projects across residential, hotels and theme parks, retail, education, industrial, infrastructure, and being the first Arab state to host the FIFA World Cup (Read cover story). More power to Qatar!

Pratap Padode