Safwan al-Salmi, president of the board of directors for the National Company for Construction and Development (NCCD), said that the Qatari government has refused to grant Egyptian Contracting the rights to construct a sewage maintenance project in Cairo, despite the fact that the company came first in a recent round of bidding.
Salmi expressed his shock that the company, a subsidiary of the NCCD, and owned by Mokhtar Ibrahim, did not win the contract, whose rights were given to a second, unnamed corporation. This was especially strange he said, considering that the NCCD had received guarantees from the Qatari government that no other companies were still competing for the contract.
He added however that the NCCD would not pursue the issue, or seek to involve itself in international arbitration cases, as it was keen on preserving its relationship with Qatar, which has improved markedly in recent months.
This came as the Qatari government seeks to win the rights to contracts in the Suez Canal and North Coast regions, after having provided $5bn in support to President Morsi, with $4bn in deposits and $1bn in grants. Qatar’s prime minister has stated a number of times that his government will not allow for the collapse of the Egyptian economy.
He also went on to say that his company was looking to expand its operations in foreign markets, primarily in Sudan. The Hassan Allam Holding Company, an affiliate of the NCCD, recently won two contracts for road construction projects in Sudan totaling EGP 1.2bn. The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) pledged to provide 80% of the project’s funding, with the Sudanese government covering the remaining 20%.
Salmi added that Ibrahim was currently competing to win the rights to construct seven sewage maintenance projects in the United Arab Emirates, pointing out that a recent cooling in relations between the UAE and Egyptian governments had not had an effect on businessmen working in the country.