Privatisation moves forward

31 January 2003
The government is starting to make headway with its proposed privatisation programme, following the award of the mandate to develop and operate the kingdom's public transport network. A team of The Cars Company of the UAE and the local AABin Hindi Grouphas signed a concession agreement to run the taxi and bus network for the next five years. The deal will entail significant improvements to the kingdom's bus transport system, including the introduction of new vehicles and reduced fares.

The initiative is the first step in regulating the country's taxi drivers, who will now operate under one company. The World Bank acted as the government's adviser on the deal.

Studies are also expected to begin this year on the proposed privatisation of postal services. Request for proposal documents are due out in April for a detailed feasibility study into the sell-off, which is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2004. Other utilities likely to be privatised over the next year include the ports and power sectors.

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