Qatar has launched an index which will monitor pricing and availability of basic construction materials on a monthly basis and issue an alert if there are shortages, to ensure that the mega development projects to be launched for the 2022 soccer World Cup are not affected in the least.
The government has put the cost of the construction projects to be launched for the 2022 FIFA event at a whopping QR584bn ($160bn) over the next 10 years. Cement, steel, coarse and fine sand, limestone, bitumen and crushed stones (construction aggregates used in road construction) have been included in the index.
A committee was set up at the Ministry of Business and Trade vide a decision issued by the State Cabinet last year to prepare the index and launch and monitor it on a monthly basis.
The index will be made available to smartphone users in the near future, committee officials told reporters.
Bitumen and aggregates are imported — the latter from Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and their prices have surged three percent and 25 percent, respectively, in recent months.
Coarse sand with transport costs is priced at QR890 a ton, while the price of fine sand is QR500 a ton, including freight charges. Steel of eight millimeter thickness is available for QR2,990 a ton, whereas, cement bags (of 50kg each) are sold for QR13 apiece in the local market.
Bitumen's rate is QR37 per 16kg. Limestone, on the other hand, is the cheapest of all building materials — QR20 per ton. The rate of fine sand is marginally up (by QR5) since the start of the current year, according to committee officials.
Dr Aamir Al Addad, secretary of the committee, said at a news conference that the cost of infrastructure development projects over the next 10 years has been estimated at an astronomical QR584bn.
Majid Al Mahmoud, Assistant Undersecretary in-charge of business affairs at the trade ministry, who heads the committee, said the panel had closely coordinated with various government agencies, mainly the Qatar Statistics Authority, to prepare the index.
He said the panel was set up late last year and the idea behind launching the index was to issue an alert in advance in case of a sudden shortage of any building material, and ask importers to take immediate steps to meet the shortfall.
The committee has plans to regularly hold symposiums, workshops and meetings with project managers, importers and senior officials of construction and contracting companies on the issue of pricing and availability of construction materials in the country.