Shoura Council to discuss flaws in public works system today

Shoura Council to discuss flaws in public works system today

Proposal aims to end wastage of state funds

Shoura calls for a hold on new water bills
File photo of the Shoura Council in session. — SPA

By Faris Al-Qahtani

RIYADH — The Shoura Council on Tuesday will discuss a proposal to formulate an integrated system for public works and implementing basic infrastructure projects.

The proposal was presented by former member Juran Al-Qahtani with a view to end the wastage of public funds in faltering development projects.

Qahtani said he made the proposal out of his concern about the wastage public money due to what he called «a serious flaw» in the system of public works.

There is a complete wastage of time and money in the implementation of many government projects, which did not see the light even after the passage of several years since awarding the contracts. This is in addition to the low quality of many completed infrastructure, he said.

The former member attributed the slackness in the implementation of government projects to a number of factors, including a lack of proper planning, the inability of some government departments to execute projects, the absence of coordination among concerned departments, insufficient experience of many contractors and the weakness of supervision by the consultants.

«The citizen has not felt the impact of these projects on which the government has spent huge sums of money,» he said.

Qahtani recalled that during the period between 1992 and 2009, the implementation of 850 projects, out of a total of 1,035, has faltered. This is a ratio of about 82 percent, which is unbelievable, he said.

He said during the same period, the cost of projects increased by about 41 percent from their original value. He also said the execution of about 82 percent of the projects protracted beyond schedule.

The government›s spending on public projects registered a steep rise in the past few years. For instance, more than SR100 billion were spent on upgrading roads and bridges, which are important components of the basic infrastructure, he said.

Qahtani said the same projects were repeated more than once elsewhere, meaning a wastage of government funds.

A number of contractors did not fully utilize the national resources in the execution of projects because they wanted to make more personal gains, he said.

Qahtani blamed the absence of close followup and proper supervision as one of the reasons behind the contractors› slackness.

According to the figures of the Control and Investigations Board (CIB) released in November 2013, there were 127 projects that were behind schedule in 14 ministries and government departments. Of these, 52 projects belonged to the Ministry of Health, 28 to the Ministry of Transport and 18 to the Ministry of Education.

According to a report by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) for the same year, the total value of the faltering projects was more than SR40 billion.

In late 2014, about 22 slackening government projects in the Eastern Province were withdrawn from the contractors.

An economic report issued in late 2013 said the value of the cancelled projects reached more than SR196 billion while the cost of the projects which were stopped middle way was about SR167 billion.

The contracts signed by the Ministry of Education to execute about 200 educational projects in various parts of the Kingdom worth SR2 billion were rescinded. In Makkah, about 66 percent of 2,508 projects under execution faltered during the year.