Qatar SMEs face barriers to 2022 projects

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Qatar is set to launch nearly US$100bn worth of infrastructure projects in the run up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but a leading business leader believes small firms will struggle when it comes to tendering for big projects.

“Having surveyed the needs and challenges of over 200 SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) in Qatar, we can say with great authority and certainty that competing in tenders represents one of the biggest barriers to growth,” Enterprise Qatar (EQ) chief operating officer Nasser Al Mohannadi was quoted as saying by the Gulf Times newspaper as he launched the Government Procurement and Contracting Conference (GPCC)

The conference, to be held in April, is designed to help SMEs and entrepreneurs take advantage of the opportunities available as the country ramps up its expenditure on infrastructure projects.

“EQ will present policy options based on international best practices to strategic stakeholders for potential adoption of enabling clauses that facilitate more business to be won by SMEs,” Al Mohannadi said.

Al Mohannadi said SMEs were the main driving force behind the development of the economy and more should be done to help them succeed.

“We hope to achieve that by helping entrepreneurs and SMEs develop the tools and expertise and by offering access to the funding and opportunities necessary for them to launch, grow and maintain their business,” he believed.

Between now and 2022 an estimated US$100bn is expected to be allocated to infrastructure projects, including many high-profile schemes such as the Doha Bay crossing and the Doha Metro.

Alistair Kirk, head of infrastructure, industry and utilities, Middle East at EC Harris said: "The Qatari government has shown a real willingness to enter into joint venture agreements with the private finance community, to build the infrastructure needed to deliver their 2030 National Vision.

"Qatar offers an excellent business environment however for investors the biggest challenge is likely to come from a project delivery perspective.

"Securing access to the right capability within the supply chain and to the volume of materials required to deliver so many projects in such a short window, will require rigorous and early planning."

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