ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 4, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 49
Financial Times  

Sri Lanka wins huge construction contracts in Qatar, Bahrain

By Bandula Sirimanna

Sri Lanka has laid the foundation to export professional services for the booming construction industry in oil-rich countries like Qatar and Bahrain. Qatar, with the third largest gas reserves in the world and having the highest per capita income in the world at 70,000 dollars, was well placed to both make investments in the island, as well as import Sri Lankan professional skills because of the construction boom there.

CEO and Secretary General of the Chamber of Construction Industry (CCI) Dakshitha Thalgodapitiya said that the CCI recently opened an office in Qatar as part of efforts to enhance the Gulf country’s construction industry capacity, especially for professional services. He added that the Qatar office would give the CCI more room to prospect for opportunities in the Gulf country which has already lined up more that $130 billion capital expenditure, half of which is going for non energy sectors.

There is over a trillion dollars worth of pure construction projects in the region right now, he said. Thalgodapitiya noted that there's also a lot of infrastructure creation in the Gulf and this is an opportunity for Sri Lankan construction firms and skilled labour. He disclosed that the State Engineering Corporation has been able to undertake a project worth QR439 milllion to construct 345 residential villas on Salwa Road Qatar and MoUs had been signed for the construction of another 15,000 houses and an 80 km road.

He said they have signed another agreement in Bahrain to build 15,000 houses. Over a million Sri Lankans are employed in the six GCC states with 130,000 in Qatar alone. Thalgodapitiya noted that this could easily be increased to 200,000 because of the huge business expansion and infrastructure creation in Qatar.

Thalgodapitiya said that a large number of foreign guests from Qatar, India, UK and Malaysia are expected to visit the Excon 2008 annual trade fair of the Chamber of Construction Industry to be held at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Hall in Colombo from May 9 to 11. Excon 2008 will have 150 trade stalls providing opportunities for vendors of plant and equipment and other construction inputs, financial services and other service providers to meet their target clientele.


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