GCC na­tions told to build on tough times

GCC na­tions told to spend way out of dif­fi­cult pe­riod

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­trick Ryan @ThatPad­dyRyan pa­trick@7days.ae

Con­struc­tion firms in the GCC are fac­ing a tough year, ac­cord­ing to a wide rang­ing sur­vey car­ried out by busi­ness re­search firm MEED.

Ed James, Di­rec­tor of Con­tent and Anal­y­sis, gave a bleak anal­y­sis when speak­ing at the MEED Lead­er­ship Sum­mit in Dubai yes­ter­day.

He told del­e­gates that in the wake of plum­met­ing oil and gas prices, the first quar­ter of 2016 has been the worst year for the GCC since 2005 and that it has been “pretty dis­as­trous so far.”

In Saudi Ara­bia, the im­pact has been par­tic­u­larly hard with the Bin­ladin group alone lay­ing off 50,000 work­ers, some­thing that James said was “the tip of the ice­berg.”

James said that the UAE is the one coun­try that is buck­ing the trend though by in­vest­ing in projects to keep the econ­omy tick­ing over in a dif­fi­cult pe­riod.

He added the level of con­struc­tion con­tracts awarded in Qatar has been hugely dis­ap­point­ing to in­dus­try ex­perts, in the first quar­ter of 2016 they were awarded 1673 con­tracts. “They now ac­tu­ally have less than Bahrain (1705) and it has come al­most to a com­plete stop,” he said.

He said the most im­por­tant is­sue when it comes to the fu­ture pros­per­ity of the mar­ket was “gov­ern­ments com­mit­ment to main­tain spend­ing in the face of fall­ing rev­enues to keep the econ­omy mov­ing”.

He iden­ti­fied Expo 2020 and the Qatar World Cup as two ex­am­ples of such projects that are al­low­ing firms to stay in busi­ness.

He added that the big­gest is­sues fac­ing com­pa­nies in the year would be cash­flow and salaries.

DIG IN: Firms have been told of tough times ahead

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