Riyadh plans to tender the project management office (PMO) roles for the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport after the National Project Management Office (NPMO) role that is tendered earlier in June.

The two ministries are understood to be priorities for the government which over the past two years has delayed capital expenditure decisions on key projects, such as Mecca Metro.

In June, the National Project Management Office invited firms to submit bids by 12 July for the contract to provide consultancy services for the body that will oversee future capital expenditure projects in the kingdom.

At least seven firms are understood to have been invited to bid. The contract will initially be for a period of three years. The National Project Management Office was formed by the Ministry of Economy and Planning in 2015.

MEED reported in April that Riyadh had released funding for government departments and their related entities to appoint consultancies to set up their planned project management offices (PMOs).

The kingdom is turning to programme management, a methodology for managing large and complex schemes, as a way of containing spending and increasing returns from the Middle East’s largest capital investment programme.

The overview document for Riyadh’s Vision 2030, released in late April, emphasised the key role that PMOs will play in transforming the kingdom’s economy. “The kingdom’s agencies are currently undergoing a wave of reforms and transformation,” said the document. “To manage this momentum and ensure all efforts are coordinated, we adopted an effective approach to project management and established expert [PMOs] in the Council of Economic and Development Affairs and many other government agencies. We also set up a central delivery unit.”

In the past, programme management has also been used for individual developments and schemes, such as Jubail and Yanbu, the Riyadh Metro and the Waad al-Shamal mining project.

The PMOs will also assist Riyadh’s privatisation drive. The government has identified about 146 state-owned entities that could be privatised or sold to the public as it looks to monetise assets to meet budget shortfalls amid low oil prices and shrinking revenues.