Posted on February 27, 2015

Qatar’s plans will not be affected by lower oil price, but there may be more opportunities for private finance to play a role in the country’s infrastructure, the upcoming MEED Qatar Projects Conference which opens in Doha will be told.

“The slide in the oil sector will not affect Qatar’s ability and willingness to execute their plans,” says Mamoon Alameen, a specialist on project delivery. “It may, however, catalyse PPP (public-private partnerships) in many sectors.” Alameen is a speaker at the conference, the premier event for all those wishing to do business in and with Qatar in the years to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The conference is being organised with the support of Ashghal, Qatar’s public works agency. According to Alameen, projects needed to support the FIFA World Cup finals 2020 will play a critical role in delivering Qatar’s long-term vision.

“World Cup projects are very small compared to the infrastructure projects the state of Qatar planned to undertake even before being awarded the (tournament),” Alameen says. “World Cup projects, nevertheless, will play the role of a catalyst to prioritise projects and give a firm deadline for their completion.” Ahmad Al Jolo, Chairman, Qatar Society of Engineers, agrees: “Major projects will continue as they are planned. The government will be extra cautious on how to spend the money.” Ahmad will discuss the importance of introducing world-class procurement, project management and risk mitigation strategies to build resilient client contractor partnerships to succeed in Qatar’s projects market at the conference.

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“There were some drops on real estate projects. Budgets are becoming little bit tight. But the over all picture of expenditure on infrastructure in Qatar is continuing,” Ahmad adds. “A strategic procurement strategy is imperative to sustain projects without overheating the market. This could entail: ensuring sufficient supply of raw materials, providing easy access to funds from local banks with low interest rates; staggering the procurement process to maintain a steady demand and supply; aligning timings for tendering for big projects,” Ahmad adds.

Alameen says the scale, number and complexity of the projects planned in Qatar will require a different approach by those responsible for managing them. “The interdependence between resources and interconnected projects underline the need for complex optimization and careful planning by both the private sector and the public sector beyond the usual methods,” Alameen says. “Management science allows the minimisation of stress on the market,” Alameen adds. “Qatar has a unique opportunity to do this because of its unique structure that allows coordination to reduce cost and increase efficiency.”