Bahrain launches $551m housing plan
Manama, January 3, 2012
Bahrain’s Housing Ministry has signed a landmark BD208 million ($551.6 million) Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with real estate company Nassej to build more than 4,000 affordable homes within three years.
The deal is believed to be the first of its kind in the Gulf, hopes to help tackle nationwide housing shortages and reduce the government's waiting list.
'We certainly want to use our own resources in mega developmental projects and encourage private sector and local investors,' Housing Minister Basem Al Hamer told the GDN after the signing ceremony.
The event was held at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa under the patronage of Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and attended by several government officials.
Al Hamer said the agreement would help construct 4,100 housing units. The agreement includes the Northern City, Al Buhair Housing and Al Lawzi projects.
'This agreement is considered the biggest of its kind in the ministry's history in terms of the number of housing units to be built in partnership with the private sector, as part of a series of innovative solutions through which the ministry aims to reduce waiting lists,' said Mr Al Hamer.
'We will observe the progress of this project for six months to see it becomes a successful model.
'We are open to all kinds of ideas as we are running against time and want to use all our resources.'
He signed the agreement with Nassej board of directors chairman Khalid Abdulla Janahi, in the presence of Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.
During a speech, Mr Janahi said the company wanted to contribute to the development of affordable housing sector in Bahrain
'The core of the project involves delivering more than 4,100 housing units of which 3,110 are social housing units within a period of less than three years and with a total cost in excess of $550 million,' he said.
Speaking about the robust consortium assembled for the project, Nassej board PPP steering committee member and board member Mohammed Khalil Al Sayed said it would include Ithmaar Development Company as the Development Manager, AECOM as master planners, URS/Scott Wilson and Ansari Engineering Services as the infrastructure designers, AECOM/Ansari Engineering Services as the House Building Designers and Davis Langdon as the Cost Consultants.
'The consortium includes the main contractor, Chase Manara BSC (closed), which is a joint venture between a group of leading Malaysian contractors and a Bahraini company, to ensure that the project's objectives are realised in full,' said Janahi.
'Olive VFM are the facility management providers.'
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Al Hamer said plans were in the pipeline to implement a number of major housing projects. This includes one in East Hidd Town involving 4,000-5,000 housing units that is expected to benefit 30,000 citizens.
He said the ministry also planned to help boost Bahrain's economy and the construction industry.
Improving co-operation between the government and private sector in infrastructure projects was one of the recommendations of last year's National Dialogue.