Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has invited consultants to submit proposals in January for a contract to provide consultancy services to the ministry’s project management office (PMO).

It is understood that the firms that have been invited to submit proposals include:

  • Aecom (US)
  • Atkins (UK)
  • Bechtel (US)
  • CH2M (US)
  • Hill International (US)
  • Parsons (US)

According to regional projects tracker MEED Projects, the ministry has $13.2bn of projects, of which $11bn are in the pre execution phase.

The request for proposals (RFP) is the second PMO deal to be tendered in Saudi Arabia this year. Consultants submitted proposals in July to provide consultancy services for the National Project Management Office (NPMO), which will oversee future capital expenditure projects in the kingdom. It is understood that negotiations with bidders for that deal are still ongoing and an award is expected during the first quarter of 2017.

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 infrastructure investments.

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.”

Riyadh is also evaluating bids from consultants for a study to plan how it can reprioritise its future capital spending. It is understood the aim is to save SR70bn ($18.7bn) from planned project spending totalling SR260bn. 

The study involves assessing and planning future spending for several of Saudi Arabia’s largest government departments, including the health, education, housing and transport ministries. It will focus on capital expenditure plans, but will also consider operational costs.