New data released by the Tender Board, an independent regulator of government procurement practices in Bahrain, revealed that the country awarded 1,730 tenders in 2019 worth a total of $4.9 billion.
The construction and engineering services sector took the lion’s share of the awarded tenders, with 45% worth US$2.2 billion. The oil and gas sector placed second with tenders valued at $1.2 billion or 24% of the total.
In the first quarter of 2020, Bahrain awarded 372 tenders worth a total of $740 million, with the procurement of equipment and materials accounting for 30% of the awarded tenders valued at US$233 million.
The construction and engineering services sector accounted for 26% of tenders worth US$188.7 million, followed by the aviation sector, which took 18% of the tenders valued at US$132 million. The fourth and fifth largest shares were taken by the oil and gas sector and the services sector, accounting for 15% of the awarded tenders worth US$113 million, and 11% worth US$82 million, respectively.
The results reaffirm Bahrain’s efforts to continue public and private sector spending on major infrastructure projects despite the exceptional circumstances currently affecting the globe regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Kingdom’s US$32 billion infrastructure project pipeline is a major contributor and driver of national economic growth. Among the key projects currently underway is the Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) refinery modernisation project (now 40% complete), the US$1.1 billion Bahrain International Airport expansion project that will contribute to doubling the airport's capacity to 14 million passengers annually, and the fleet upgrade of Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air.
Shaikh Nayef bin Khalid Al Khalifa, Chairman of Bahrain Tender Board, said: “The new data reflects the stability of the bids awarded in all sectors, and reinforces the sustainability of Bahrain’s development services as part of the ongoing urban infrastructure expansion that the country is undertaking.
"In line with the objectives of the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, these numbers encourage us to provide best-in-class services that meet and exceed our citizens’ expectations and align with our national priorities to achieve sustainability and encourage investment, further driving the country’s economic evolution.
“In an effort to enhance market competitiveness, the Board sought to encourage a wider range of suppliers and contractors to participate in government tenders and bidding last year. The Tender Board achieved distinguished results in 2019 in terms of its selection of government tenders and auctions, with the number of public tenders constituting 70.5% of the 2019 total – up from 57% the previous year.
“In addition, the number of limited tenders declined from 25% to 19.3% of the total number of tenders, while the contracting ratio registered 10.3% in 2019, compared to 18% in 2018. This reflects the progress the Tender Board has made in adopting best international practices to increase its competitiveness and optimise the value of public funds spent.”