Interview: Nasser bin Ali Al Mawlawi

How much investment has Ashghal allocated for road and expressway developments?

NASSER BIN ALI AL MAWLAWI: Along with public buildings and drainage infrastructure, Ashghal is responsible for the design, construction, delivery and maintenance of expressways and major roads. We have two main programmes allocated for roads; the first is the Expressway Programme, which will link cities across Qatar. This is a seven-year programme that includes more than 30 major projects with 240 interchanges, about 1000 km of new roads and an array of underpasses, flyovers and multi-level interchanges. The programme is well underway and making steady progress. There are 18 expressway projects currently under construction and an additional 14 projects are expected to commence in 2015. The second development is the Local Roads and Drainage Programme. It is a nationwide programme that includes construction of tens of projects, including local roads, drainage and infrastructure across the country’s five regions over the next five to seven years.

What statutes are in place to involve local contractors in tenders offered through Ashghal?

AL MAWLAWI: Ashghal has always encouraged local companies to participate in its tendering process and we will continue to do so going forward. The authority operates an open and transparent competitive tendering process, whereby tenders are advertised on its website and in relevant publications. Based on the value and scale of the projects, our tendering process includes eligibility categories for companies. Currently there are four categories of tender: those that are eligible to Qatari companies only, to joint ventures, to non-Qatari companies, and to international and local consultants. Ashghal has also adopted a contract strategy framework that aims to expedite and ease the process of implementing projects through establishing conditions and general regulations, value rates, and tendering and awarding procedures. The system also defines the role of Qatari companies in local roads and infrastructure projects, and empowers and develops their abilities. Ashghal’s requirements for firms to be eligible to tender are determined by value and quality assessments.

Why was the Inner Doha Re-sewerage Implementation Strategy (IDRIS) project carried out?

AL MAWLAWI: IDRIS addresses an acute need for a solution to the overloaded drainage and sewage network. Without a long-term solution like IDRIS, further development and population increases in the area would cause the current infrastructure to fail. IDRIS will upgrade and expand the sewerage infrastructure and accommodate the projected population growth of an additional 1m people in Doha’s oldest areas and beyond. IDRIS is a critical programme that provides a vital long-term wastewater treatment solution for the southern part of Doha, Al Wakra and Mesaieed. The major tunnelled interceptor sewer and advanced sewage treatment works are designed to meet the area’s drainage and sewage treatment demands for the next 50 years, eliminating the hydraulically overloaded conditions and replacing 35 pump stations.

With increased funding for education and health care in 2015, what projects is Ashghal pursuing to expand social infrastructure under its mandate?

AL MAWLAWI: In 2014 Ashghal awarded a number of construction and consulting contracts for health care buildings worth QR1.77bn ($465.97m), including a construction contract for Hamad bin Khalifa Medical City’s simulation centre and two contracts for four health care centres in Muaither, Al Wajbah, Al Waab and Al Jamiaa. Ashghal is also working on other major projects such as Hamad bin Khalifa Medical City. This project, scheduled for completion in 2015, comprises four specialised hospitals. For the education sector, Ashghal is constructing educational buildings in villages and suburbs. At the start of this academic year, Ashghal completed 13 schools and eight kindergartens in and around Doha.