Saudi Arabia to Take Over UAE in Construction Projects

ABU DHABI - With the economic fears looming large in the GCC, Saudi Arabia will take a centre stage in the construction sector with increased allocations going into the development of infrastructure in 2009, followed by the UAE, predict top construction leaders.

By Staff Report

Published: Wed 11 Feb 2009, 12:22 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:54 AM

About 47 per cent participants mostly the CEOs and senior construction industry officials were asked to give their views on different issues, the construction industry is facing, in the wake of financial crisis, shrinking economies, busting real estate prices and its possible impact on the construction industry — the largest employer in the UAE.

The construction industry faces depletion in its order book, and contraction in construction activities as banks become more prudent in financing construction projects, 36 per cent CEOs favoured an increase in spending on projects, and 32 per cent sought intervention from SWFs, to make heavy investments into the domestic economy.

All agreed that Saudi Arabia would be the next big thing on the construction scene in 2009, while the UAE which pioneered in opening up the real estate sector to foreign investments, scored 32 per cent votes, giving credence to the fears that global recession would have deep impact on nation’s economy.

A research firm Proleads, last week feared some $583 billion worth of UAE construction projects have been put on hold.’But Riad Kamal CEO of Arab Tech Holding speaking to reporters doubted the figure, calling it exaggeration.’

About 34 per cent of the CEOs and senior executives in their reply to a question on their company’s growth outlook in 2009 expected a growth between 1-9 per cent, not a bad year. But the year 2010, they believed would be really tough, when they would complete all the contracts obtained in hey days in 2008, when real estate prices were sky-rocketing.Eighty –six per cent construction industry executives said they are experiencing delays in payments these days comparing with the same month of February last year, across the GCC. In the GCC, 46per cent of the respondents said a delay of 1-3 months in payments of project work is a normal.

They said water and power projects would lead the construction developments in the GCC this year to fuel growing economy, followed by construction of public buildings, while other sub-sectors may be low on priorities by the governments.?

Seventy-nine per cent of the senior executives said the GCC governments need to do more to support the project industry. Most participants said GCC governments should encourage banks to increase lending to projects and the construction industry. About 47 per cent respondents said their companies have not changed any of major business practices in the light of the economic downturn.


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