Opinion

Is Qatar too risky for contractors?

Is Doha doing enough to convince the construction industry that contractors will be treated fairly in the lead up to the World Cup in 2022?

I sat on a panel session at last month’s Hotel Show in Dubai discussing the current state of play in Qatar and how it will achieve its aims. On the stage the talk was about its undoubted potential, but on the sidelines the talk was of risk to bonds, litigation and arbitration. Depressingly three years on from Qatar’s victory, there are few signs of putting in place the financial, legal and regulatory framework that will be required to protect those brave enough to take on work there.

Akbar Al Baker suggested this month that NDIA will now open early next year, extending delays to four years.

Al Baker has readily blamed contractors for the delays, but we saw Lindner Depa Interiors fight back in September by launching a $250 million international arbitration claim.

In his statement, an exasperated Mohannad Sweid, Group CEO at Depa said: “We consider the termination of our contract to have been wholly unfounded and the subsequent lack of response by the New Doha International Airport has left Lindner Depa Interiors with no choice… We have spent significant time and effort over the last nine months to resolve this matter amicably with the NDIA but without success.”

Serious money is being spent in the hope of winning contracts in Qatar. Unless you’re confident that you will see it through to the end, I would question whether that is money well spent.

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