Lowest Bidder

Rashid al-Fouzan:

Anyone who follows up on the government projects will notice that many of them are never completed on time or that their completion is not according to the required standards or quality. Years and years have passed on some projects without them being completed while the need for them is steadily growing. As a result, development remains to be an illusive goal and the gap in services remains unsolved. The government projects have been characterized by slowness, slackness and incompletion.

In my opinion, the entire problem lies in the way the government projects are offered. The projects are usually offered to the lowest bidder. This is an actual fact despite repeated denials by the concerned government departments. When he opens his file to see why the project is behind schedule, the contractor will discover that he has spent his money not on the project itself but in some other areas.

This echoes statements made earlier by Said al-Shaikh, Chief Economist at the National Commercial Bank, who said during a press conference on Tuesday that the current system of awarding government contracts made banks reluctant to give loans to small and medium contractors. Al-Shaikh, who is also a member of the Shoura Council, said “banks now view the whole construction and contracting sector in the Kingdom as being semi-monopolized by three or four corporations only.”