Bahrain awarded US $4.1 billion worth of contracts in 2020

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  • Robust figures come despite the debilitating impact of COVID-19 on the global economy
  • Continued high value of tenders in the construction sector indicative of Government focus on multi-billion dollar infrastructure project pipeline
  • Rapid pandemic response sees Ministry of Health spending almost tripled compared to previous year

Manama: Bahrain awarded 1,688 tenders throughout 2020 worth a total of US $4.1 billion (BHD 1.6 billion) compared to a total of US $4.8 billion (BHD 1.8 billion) in 2019, according to new data released by Bahrain’s Tender Board – the country’s government procurement regulator.

In terms of value of contracts, the oil sector took on 228 tenders worth US $1.6 billion (BHD 598.1 million) followed by the construction and engineering industry, winning 317 tenders worth a combined US $875.7 million (BHD 330.1 million) – clearly underscoring the Government’s continued commitment to its extensive pipeline of major infrastructure projects, currently valued at some US $32 billion.

The construction and engineering sector was followed by the aviation sector, the materials and equipment sector, and finally the services sector, which saw a total of US $638.2 million (BHD 240.6 million), US $606.1 million (BHD 228.5 million) and US $424.8 million (BHD 160.1 million) worth of tenders awarded respectively. While bringing up the rear in terms of value of contracts, the services sector was awarded the highest number of contracts, at 599.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) saw a sizeable increase over last year – in terms of both number of tenders issued and value of tenders. In 2019 the MoH awarded 93 tenders, valued at some US $123.8 million (BHD 46.7 million). In 2020 the MoH awarded 137 tenders valued at US $298.1 million (BHD 112.4 million) – a near threefold increase in value. This surge in spending is attributed to the Kingdom’s robust and rapid COVID-19 response in many fronts, including a track and trace app, extensive testing, vaccinations, hospital robots, car park conversions to hospitals and more.

The positive figures follow closely on from the release of equally encouraging data highlights a record number of tenders awarded to the SME sector during 2020 worth a total of US $145.4 million (BHD 54.96 million), indicative of government support for a sector that it regards as the engine for post-COVID economic recovery.

Commenting on the new figures, the Chairman of the Tender Board, Shaikh Nayef bin Khalid Al Khalifa said: “2020 has proven one of the most challenging and unpredictable years globally for businesses in all sectors across the board. Despite these less than friendly conditions, throughout the year, Bahrain has awarded an impressive 1,688 contracts valued at well over US $4 billion. This dynamic performance is indicative of Bahrain’s commitment and ability to remain open for business even in times of crisis. The Kingdom’s extensive, multi-billion dollar pipeline of infrastructure projects is a case in point, and has driven the consistently high value of contracts in the our thriving construction and engineering sector throughout the year.”

As for the purchasing authorities, Tatweer Petroleum topped the list for highest total value of tenders issued, worth a combined US $1.5 billion (BHD 555.5 million). Gulf Air followed close behind, awarding some US $635 million (BHD 239.4 million) of tenders, followed by the Electricity & Water Authority; the Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs & Urban Planning; and the Ministry of Health, which awarded a combined US $509.2 million (BHD 192 million), US $329.4 million (BHD 124.2 million) and US $298.1 million (BHD 112.4 million) of contracts respectively.

About Tender Board:

The Bahrain Tender Board is an independent, regulator of government procurement practices in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Tender Board works to promote effective and efficient government procurement practices and systems through a strict regulatory mechanism designed to ensure the utmost fairness and equal opportunity. The Board collaborates with the public sector Purchasing Authorities, and local, regional, and international contractors and suppliers, in order to ensure equality, transparency and competitiveness in all government tendering and purchasing practices. We have built bridges of cooperation between the public sector Purchasing Authorities, and local, regional, and international contractors and suppliers, in order to ensure excellence, fairness and competitiveness in all government tendering and purchasing practices. These strong partnerships have created the foundation for a world-class regulatory environment that facilitates private sector growth and boosts global investor confidence in the Kingdom of Bahrain as a preferred place to do business.