Foreign firms' entry to Saudi will tackle project delays

Saudi Arabia’s decision to ease the rules for the entry of major foreign contractors will help tackle the persistent problem of project delays in the largest Arab economy, the Gulf Kingdom’s top contractor said in press remarks on Tuesday.

Fahd Al Hammadi, chairman of the national contracting committee, told the Arabic language daily 'Aleqtisadiah' that Saudi contractors would benefit from the decision issued by the cabinet in late August to pave the way for well-known foreign contracting companies to work in the Kingdom without being subject to existing rating procedures.

He said the new rules, which were ratified by King Abdullah, would allow only “major global companies” to enter the Saudi market, which had been “flooded by small and unreal firms working under the cover of foreign investment.”

“The country has not benefited from those 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.”

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.

He said the new rules would not negatively affect small and medium Saudi contracting firms. “On the contrary, we expect the new rules to organise those firms better and enable them to gain experience and culture of good work.”

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