By Huda N V / The Peninsula
As a result of ongoing blockade, Qatar has been able to identify alternative sources for construction materials of superior quality at competitive prices. While the country’s construction sector is running full throttle ahead, suppliers from the blockading countries have lost major opportunities in Qatar, according to experts in the sector.
“The blockade has had no impact on the operations of construction here. However, the impact is the other way round, with the blockading countries loosing lots of opportunities,” said Fahad Rashid Al Kaabi, CEO of Manateq.
Speaking to the media recently he said that number of suppliers from UAE and Saudi tried approaching Qatari market through other ports in the region. “They lost a number of opportunities due to the blockade and we had projects worth more than QR1bn awarded to international companies. This will be announced soon,” he said.
However, contrary to the expectations, construction cost has not changed and with many countries stepping up to offer construction materials, the prices of these materials have gone down.
“The economy of Qatar has not been effected with the current blockade. We got alternative sources for materials at reduced prices. Due to the current crisis, most of the international companies were very supportive and they didn’t take any advantage of Qatar. They submitted discounts to beat the previous prices of products. Also, Qatar negotiated and got the best prices,” Al Kaabi added.
Various local enterprises have also stepped up to offer several products related to the construction sector.
“We have a number of local producers for construction materials here. Many of the contractors here did not know that there are material available locally. They were importing from outside. Most of the local products are of very good quality and are available at cheaper or competitive rates,” Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Chairman, Qatar Chamber, told The Peninsula, at the sidelines of the “Buy Local Products” forum recently organised by the Qatar development bank.
Similar view was shared by Hamad Mohammed Esmael Al Emadi, CEO of Ismail Bin Ali Group (IBA). “The prices of the construction materials has not increased, in fact, some of them are have become cheaper,” he said.
While concrete/ ready-mix and steel needed for the construction is sourced from within the country, other products needed comes from outside.
“It is not true that we depended exclusively on UAE and Saudi for various products. We used to source products from various markets and for now, we have lot more alternative sources, hence we do not face any problems in the construction sector. This is mainly because there isn’t any material that is sourced exclusive from the blockading countries. There is huge import from China and other countries and we do have many products made locally within the country,” he said.
Meanwhile projects have not been streamlined and are going ahead.
“The market is still the same, the government is still going ahead with its projects. Our group has projects with the government which are going on in the same speed, and are pushing to finish them sooner, still working to conclude all the infrastructural work in time for the FIFA World Cup 2022,” Al Emadi added.