Bahrain sees 140% rise in government health contracts

While overall value of tenders dropped 14%, Ministry of Health spending soared in fight against COVID-19


DUBAI: Bahrain’s Ministry of Health reported a 140 percent year-on-year increase in the total value of tenders awarded last year, as the country ramped up its expenditure to combat the spread of COVID-19.

According to figures released on Wednesday by Bahrain’s Tender Board — the country’s government procurement regulator — 1,688 tenders worth $4.1 billion were issued last year. This compares to a total value of $4.8 billion in 2019, a year-on-year drop of 14.58 percent.

Despite the overall drop in the value of tenders awarded, the ministry awarded 137 tenders valued at $298.1 million, compared to 93 tenders valued at some $123.8 million in 2019.

“This surge in spending is attributed to the Kingdom’s robust and rapid COVID-19 response in many fronts, including a track and trace app, extensive testing, vaccinations, hospital robots, car park conversions to hospitals and more,” the Tender Board said in a statement.

Gulf Daily News reported that Bahrain registered 682 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number to 131,683.

It has also carried out 3,321,242 tests. The death of a 50-year-old expat brought the number of deaths to 485.

Analysis of the tenders issued last year showed that the oil and gas sector dominated with 228 tenders worth $1.6 billion, followed by the construction and engineering industry (317 tenders worth $875.7 million).

While the total value of tenders issued within the services sector amounted to $424.8 million, it dominated in terms of the number of contracts, with 599 tenders.

Shaikh Nayef bin Khalid Al-Khalifa, chairman of the Tender Board, said 2020 “has proven one of the most challenging and unpredictable years globally for businesses in all sectors across the board. Despite these less-than-friendly conditions, throughout the year Bahrain awarded an impressive 1,688 contracts valued at well over $4 billion.”

Bahrain’s “extensive, multibillion-dollar pipeline of infrastructure projects is a case in point, and has driven the consistently high value of contracts in our thriving construction and engineering sector throughout the year,” he added.

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