Kuwait’s Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) is looking to appoint advisers on the development of two public-private partnership projects to develop thousands of new houses at an expected cost of several billion dollars.

The first project is for the development of a low-cost housing scheme, and the second is for the development of the Al-Khiran Housing City. Potential advisers have been asked to submit request for qualification (RFQ) documents by 18 April for the low-cost scheme, and by 1 May for the Al-Khiran city.

The Al-Khiran project involves the construction of a new city on the south side of Kuwait with 35,000 units. The low-cost housing project is for the development of around 10,000 units in Al Jahra governorate.

Although several financial, legal and technical advisory firms are understood to be considering bidding for the two roles, there is a lack of clarity as to why this process is not being done under the auspices of the Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB), the body set up by Kuwait a few years ago to manage all public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the country.

It is also unclear if the PAHW process will be run according to the PPP guidebook that was written by the PTB to establish international best practice for the procurement of new projects developed in cooperation with the private sector.

“There are a lot of questions left unanswered about how this process will run, why the PTB is not involved, and what that means for what sort of government backstop these projects have,” says a source at one advisory firm considering bidding for the two projects.