The royal decree approving the establishment of the new National Water Company (NWC) is expected to be issued in the coming weeks, according to the Saudi Water & Electricity Ministry.
The Supreme Economic Council has already approved the establishment of the company and the review of its capitalisation programme has been completed. NWC will have a capital of SR 22bn ($5.6bn).
One of the main difficulties facing the new company will be the quality of staff available from the existing utility firms in Jeddah and Riyadh, according to Loay al-Musall, the deputy minister for planning and development at the Water & Electricity Ministry.
“Some of the main challenges were setting up acceptable manpower transfer plans, capacity building through the assessment of employees and providing training,” he says.
Once established, NWC which will sign public-private-partnership (PPPs) contracts with companies to manage the two cities' water networks. The contracts will be the first of their kind in the kingdom.
France’s Veolia Water has been selected to manage Riyadh’s water network. The contract will be signed once the royal decree setting up NWC has been issued. The six-year contract covers managing underground water production, water distribution and wastewater collection, customer services and billing, and improving water quality. Veolia and three other groups submitted bids in July (MEED 24:7:07)
The Water & Electricity Ministry is due to receive bids from seven prequalified companies for the Jeddah water network management contract on 5 January.