By Arab News
Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal chaired a meeting of the Makkah Provincial Council and emphasized the need to expedite the implementation of delayed projects in the region.
The meeting stressed the role of city councils in various principalities in the region in determining development and infrastructure projects.
A council statement issued after the meeting said: “Councils in various cities in the region should make use of the expertise of the provincial council in removing obstacles facing their projects.”
The meeting discussed the new public transport strategy for cities in Makkah province and called for implementing the strategy as quickly as possible after considering the opinion of relevant departments.
Delays in the implementation of government projects are one of the major problems facing the Kingdom. A seminar conducted by the General Auditing Bureau recently reviewed the main reasons for such delays and issued its recommendations to speed up the execution of projects. Saudi contractors have estimated the total value of delayed public projects at nearly SR 550 billion and asked the government to take immediate measures to scale down its negative impact on the Kingdom’s progress and welfare of its people.
The National Contractors Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers announced recently that they have signed up an international consulting house to study the impact of delays in implementing various government projects.
Raed Aqeeli, chairman of the contractors committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, attributed a lack of funds, manpower and equipment as well as problems related to contract terms as the main reasons for the delay of projects. He added: “We have also problems related to increases in the prices of building materials, working mechanism for consultants and government bureaucracy.”
Contractors have cited many problems for the delay of projects, most importantly the delay in getting recruitment visas, lack of enough technical staff at government departments to prepare tenders, nonavailability of a list of importers and manufacturers of products required for projects in each region, and delay in getting licenses from authorities to commence work.
The Saudi construction sector is the largest and fastest growing market in the Gulf. Ongoing construction projects in the Gulf are valued at $ 1.9 trillion (SR 7.1 trillion), with a quarter of them in Saudi Arabia.
The government has recently allocated SR 250 billion to construct 500,000 housing units in different parts of the country. Saudi Arabia needs to build 275,000 new housing units a year to meet the requirements of its growing population.
According to Saudi officials, the Kingdom will spend an estimated $ 400 billion (SR 1.5 trillion) on large infrastructure projects over the next five years. In the period between October 2008 and April 2009, industry experts estimate the Saudi government invested nearly $ 137 billion (SR 513.8 billion) on construction projects.