Bahrain government contracts rise 25pc in Q1 signalling revival

MANAMA: A resurgence in Bahrain’s economic activity has begun, signals new data on government project spending.

Government contracts worth $1.6 billion (BD607 million) were awarded in the first quarter of 2021, 23 per cent higher than $1.3bn in the first quarter of 2020, said the Tender Board – the country’s government procurement regulator.

The number of contracts awarded has risen by 25pc in Q1-2021 when compared with Q1-2020.

The growth was partly driven by projects linked to Bahrain’s $32bn infrastructure spend – which includes strategic infrastructure projects such as Bapco’s multi-billion dollar refinery modernisation project, which is on track for completion by end-2022.

Work on expansion and upgrade of the facility, aimed at increasing the total refinery output up to 380,000 barrels per day (bpd), is already 70pc complete, it was reported.

In terms of value, the oil sector accounted for largest share of contracts in Q1 2021 at $767m, followed by the aviation sector, which accounted for $382m worth of contracts.


The construction and engineering consultancy sector has generated $194m worth of contracts in the quarter, whereas the materials and equipment sector issued orders worth $119m.

Tender Board chairman Shaikh Nayef bin Khalid Al Khalifa said: “The volume of economic activity, with 25pc more tenders awarded in the first quarter of this year compared to last year, demonstrates the strength of the economy and the size of the opportunity for businesses that are looking to partner with Bahrain.

“Improvements made to our e-tendering system over the last year are just part of a wider digitalisation drive that is realising greater efficiencies, benefiting the private sector and taking full advantage of Bahrain’s advanced digital infrastructure.

“The number of robust and successful procurement processes that took place in Q1 is a testament to our unique ‘Team Bahrain’ approach that sees the government and the private sector work hand in hand to deliver strong results.”

Among government agencies, Tatweer Petroleum was the biggest spender awarding $509m worth of contracts, followed by Gulf Air which accounted for $369m.

Bapco placed third with tenders worth $257m, followed by the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry at $224m and the Health Ministry reaching $75.6m.

As per the Finance and National Economy Ministry’s report for Q4-2020, the Tender Board awarded a total of 1,688 tenders with an aggregate value of $4.25bn during 2020.

The oil and gas sector accounted for $1.59bn of the total value while the construction and engineering industry had tender approvals worth $877.9m.

The GCC Development Fund continued to scale up its activity throughout 2020, reaffirming its long-standing role as a source of continuity and driver of economic growth.

By the end of Q4-2020, a cumulative total of $7.4bn had been allocated to various infrastructure projects for roads, housing, electricity and water and others.

The aggregate value of awarded projects was estimated at $5.1bn as of Q4-2020, an increase of 1.5pc compared to the end of the third quarter of 2020, with $74m worth of projects being awarded during the fourth quarter of 2020.

The total value of the works completed during Q4-2020 amounted to about $85.7m, bringing the total value of works since the launch of the programme to about $3,514.4m, a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) increase of 2.5pc.




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