Dubai’s RTA to seek private funds on 30% of projects – official


By Elizabeth Broomhall

Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority will seek private funding for almost a third of its infrastructure projects over the next five years, a senior official has said.

Dubai water taxi
Dubai water taxi

Some 30 percent of deals will be offered as public-private partnerships (PPP in a bid to spread the risk and cost of large projects, said CEO for strategy and corporate governance, Abdul Younes.

“Around 30% of projects over the next five years will be tendered as PPPs,” he said.

“For the public sector, this means new funds are available to develop infrastructure, and the private sector is usually more efficient in terms of management and maintaining assets. There is also more flexibility and room for innovation.”

Projects in the pipeline that will be offered out for private sector involvement include a number of marine stations and multi-storey car parks planned for the emirate, he said.

The RTA is also mulling the privatisation of its water taxi services, Younes said.

“We have three main modes of marine transport in Dubai including water taxis, water buses and ferries. We bought these already, but we need the private sector to operate them,” he said.

“We may provide the opportunity for the private sector to build more stations for marine transport systems through PPPs, because for some of them there are no stations.

He added: “We also have multi-storey car parks to be built across 9 or 10 locations throughout the city. The contracts will be tendered and awarded later this year.”

The RTA is tasked with ensuring Dubai’s infrastructure keeps pace with the emirate’s rapid growth. The state-backed agency saw a number of projects slow after the financial crisis, as it struggled to pay trade creditors.

In August, technical services firm Aecom said it was owed a “not insignificant amount” of money from the RTA on completed projects.

“There’s still money outstanding, we do get paid but it comes in dribs and drabs. We’re now starting to see a bit more consistent pay,” David Barwell, Middle East chief executive for technical support provider Aecom, said in reference to work carried out for the RTA.

“[In total] we do have some quite high outstanding. It’s not an insignificant amount of money. It certainly won’t all be [paid] in the next 12 months.”

In the longer term, Younes confirmed that both the Sheikh Rashid Bridge and the Dubai Smile – which will replace the existing floating bridge – would also be tendered as PPPs after 2014.