Interview: Saad bin Ahmad Al Muhannadi

How do you assess the effectiveness of infrastructure projects in stimulating the economy?

SAAD BIN AHMAD AL MUHANNADI: Qatar’s infrastructure development remains inextricably linked to the government’s National Development Strategy (NDS). By delivering on its mandate, Ashghal continues to play a vital role in supporting the national economy across sectors, including economic diversification, environmental sustainability, education, health care, public safety and security, and culture and sports.

Ashghal not only contributes to building infrastructure to achieve the goals set for 2022, it also aims to help Qatar become an even more prosperous nation in the long run by supporting the four pillars of the NDS: environmental, economic, social and human development. Our wide range of infrastructure programmes being implemented across the country will deliver some of the largest expressways and integrated infrastructure projects. These will provide new roads to link ports and logistical locations, which will make the transportation of goods much easier and faster, thereby boosting trade and commerce.

Specifically, with regards to diversification, the current volume and pace of construction being undertaken in Qatar offers immense opportunities. The developments will involve professional consultancy services, contracting, technology systems and equipment, as well as the supply of goods and materials to meet the project requirements.

What are the primary objectives for Ashghal under its Ta’heel initiative?

AL MUHANNADI: The main aim of the Ta’heel initiative is to qualify and accredit Qatari factories and give them an opportunity to participate in the implementation of Ashghal’s programmes and projects. It also aims to accredit local industrial products that meet the technical requirements, specifications and the standard quality levels. The steps being taken to achieve this include qualifying Qatari factories within three weeks of their application to Ashghal if they are up to standard, working with Qatar Development Bank to enhance the capabilities of domestic manufacturers so that they are able to meet these accreditation requirements, in addition to requalifying manufacturers if they fail, through workshops and guidance. There will be efforts to train firms to produce raw materials that meet the highest specifications and can contribute to state projects, to encourage investors to establish new factories, and to empower small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in realising Qatar National Vision 2030.

What role does the private sector play in developing the construction industry?

AL MUHANNADI: The private sector plays a pivotal role in the construction sector. In line with its corporate strategy, Ashghal is delivering its programmes through outsourcing and partnerships with major global players. Private sector contractors are always invited to participate in the tenders that Ashghal issues, and we have a pool of contractors that are shortlisted through our various framework agreements. Collaboration with the private sector drives growth and provides an optimal solution to bolster capacity through knowledge transfer.

Are efforts being made to minimise the environmental impact of the sector?

AL MUHANNADI: In the interest of the public, we remain committed to adopting high environmental standards and sustainability in all our programmes and projects. We encourage our project partners to adopt stringent requirements on sustainability and this forms a part of the selection criteria during tendering. To this effect, Ashghal is implementing the Global Sustainability Assessment System standards in the development of all its public buildings.