Saudi’s SCA to highlight 850 projects worth $160bn

Published: 22 February 2020 - 12:30 p.m.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s construction industry, and specifically the contracting sector, have come a long way since the difficulties faced in 2016-2017.

The cash crunch and restructuring dilemmas that burdened companies three years ago have changed to an optimistic narrative of success stories in the kingdom in 2019-2020, led by gigaprojects such as the Red Sea Project, Qiddiya, and Amaala.

One of the main drivers of this positive change has been the initiatives put forth by the Saudi Contractors Authority (SCA), which was established through the kingdom’s Council of Ministries resolution No. 510 dated 23/11/1436H to organise and develop the KSA contracting sector.

In an exclusive conversation with Construction Week, the chairman of the SCA board of directors, Eng Osama bin Hassan Al-Afalq, said: “The SCA noticed that the projects in Saudi Arabia since 2016 were slowing down. The contractors, and the construction sector, went through a lot of restructuring at that time. People were suffering.”

“To overcome this, we wanted to show the contractors that there was hope. We wanted to showcase the magnitude, nature, size, and the complexity of the projects that Vision 2030 would bring. We decided to align them with this vision; and demonstrate what it would require to execute it.”

A key initiative that the SCA launched in order to shed light on the scale of the government’s gigaprojects and their project management strategies, was the Future Projects Forum (FPF) – the contracting sector’s largest gathering in the kingdom.

The debut edition of the FPF in 2019 witnessed the participation of 23 government and private entities, showcasing more than 600 projects worth more than $120bn (SAR450bn).

The second edition in 2020 – which will be held at the Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences in the Saudi capital on 25-26 February – is expected to eclipse the achievements of 2019.

The FPF 2020 will witness the participation of 35 government and private entities, representing sectors including oil, industry, tourism, entertainment, transportation, housing, infrastructure, and mining, among others.

The event will showcase 850 projects worth an estimated value of more than $160bn (SAR600bn).

“We are expecting more than 2,000 contractors at the event. This is reflective of a clear change in the size and nature of the projects in Saudi Arabia. All of the top projects – including the Red Sea Project, and Qiddiya – will return to share updates on their projects at this year’s Future Projects Forum event,” Eng Osama said.

“This will be a one-of-a-kind event in terms of the scale of projects, and the number of stakeholders from the industry all present under a single roof. This is going to be the largest gathering of its kind not only in Saudi Arabia, but also in the region.”

The FPF 2020 will offer an opportunity for contractors, investors, suppliers, developers, banks, insurance companies, and consulting centres, to review details of Saudi Arabia’s most important future projects and investment opportunities.

Eng Osama said: “The SCA’s mandate to organise the sector and upgrade the standards of the sector, with Saudi contractors at the heart of it, includes the responsibility to link investors, contractors, and government entities together.”

Companies such as Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) – the largest oil and petrochemical entities in the world – as well as the Saudi Commission for Industrial Estates and Technology Zones (MODON), and the Dari’a Gate Development Authority, among others, have already confirmed their participation for the event.

Representatives from the kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology will also be present.

During the launch of FPF 2020, the SCA governor, Eng Thabet Mubarak Al Sawyeed, said: “The forum represents a platform for project owners to enhance the principle of transparency and competitiveness. It also represents an opportunity for contractors and investors to discover future projects presented from several entities under one umbrella and in one place.”

In addition to government-funded projects, the forum will also showcase developments by publicly-listed companies, as well as private projects such as Jabal Omar – the multi-purpose real estate mega-development project within walking distance of The Grand Mosque of Makkah.

Eng Osama said: “In general, each of these projects will be given a slot of 20 minutes to half an hour to present their latest developments. Apart from the size and the nature of their projects, each of these megaprojects and gigaprojects will share details of their timelines; how construction is progressing; and when the projects will be launched.”

“We will also ensure that all the attendees are updated about what’s happening at every part of the event. They will receive details about the announcements made for the year ahead.”

The SCA has also stated that a number of government and private entities will announce partnerships and project awards at the event. Certain government entities will also be holding dialogues with contractors at the event.

Eng Osama confirmed: “We expect a lot of contracts signed at the forum. That’s exactly what happened at the same event last year, and we are prepared to sign more deals this year.

“This is why the contractors need to understand the reality of the potential that exists at this forum, which is not only drawing a lot of interest, but is also going to be effective.”

The interest generated by the FPF 2020 event is evident in the fact that all the slots for the showcasing of projects have already been filled.

Commenting on the positive response from the industry, Eng Osama said: “The last update is that all the proponents have already booked their slots, and we don’t have any more time to host additional proponents who want to showcase their projects. Although a lot of entities are knocking on our doors – because the forum is only for two days – time is quite limited.

“In terms of registrations, we are almost full. We are witnessing a growing interest for the seats every minute.

Speaking about the organisation of the event, Eng Osama adds: “We are proud to announce that the event has been completely hosted and prepared by the SCA staff. We received positive feedback from the delegates and participants from our event last year, and we will carry that momentum into the forum this year, as well.”

The SCA has invited contractors, investors, and those interested in attending the sessions to register via the link www.saudifpf.com.

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