DUBAI: Bahrain issued $1.6 billion worth of government contracts in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, a year-on-year rise of 23 percent, according to new data released by Bahrain’s Tender Board — the country’s government procurement regulator.
The total number of individual contracts rose 25 percent year-on-year over the first three months of 2021, with the majority issued as part of Bahrain’s $32 billion infrastructure development plans.
The oil sector was the dominant source in Q1, accounting for $767 million — or 48 percent — of all contracts. This was followed by the aviation sector ($382 million), the construction and engineering consultancy sector ($194 million) and the materials and equipment sector ($119 million).
“The volume of economic activity, with 25 percent more tenders awarded in the first quarter of this year compared to last year, demonstrates the strength of the economy and the size of the opportunity for businesses that are looking to partner with Bahrain,” the chairman of the Tender Board, Shaikh Nayef bin Khalid Al Khalifa, said in a press statement.
“Improvements made to our e-tendering system over the last year are just part of a wider digitalization drive that is realizing greater efficiencies, benefiting the private sector and taking full advantage of Bahrain’s advanced digital infrastructure.”
An analysis of the contracts awarded in 2020 showed that Bahrain’s Ministry of Health reported a 140 percent year-on-year increase in the total value of tenders, as the country ramped up its expenditure to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The data showed that 1,688 tenders worth $4.1 billion were issued in 2020, a decline of 14.58 percent. Despite the overall drop in the value of tenders awarded, the Ministry of Health awarded 137 tenders valued at $298.1 million, compared to 93 tenders valued at some $123.8 million in 2019.
“This surge in spending is attributed to the Kingdom’s robust and rapid COVID-19 response in many fronts, including a track and trace app, extensive testing, vaccinations, hospital robots, car park conversions to hospitals and more,” the Tender Board said in a statement.