TBY talks to Hamad Khalifa Al Murar, CEO of Abu Dhabi General Services Company (Musanada), on working with the government, the growing population, and the recent slow down in the real estate market.

 Hamad Khalifa Al Murar
Hamad Khalifa Al Murar has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering from the California State University at Long Beach. Al Murar has over 14 years of experience in real estate, and has previously worked as Director of Projects and Technical Affairs at the Office of HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as Chief Development Officer at Manazel Real Estate, and most recently as Division Manager for Infrastructure and Facilities at the Abu Dhabi Education Council. He has received training in project management, risk management, cost control, and team motivation.

What process does the company go through, with regards to tendering contracts?

Musanada policies and processes are compliant with Abu Dhabi's Tenders and Procurement Law, Law No. 6. Musanada operates a robust electronic procurement process using the Tejari application. Requirements are tendered openly to the market to pre-qualified and registered suppliers, which encourages strong competition and fair pricing. Musanada supplier registration system is linked to the government systems, which are managed by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Department of Economic Development. Musanada aims to provide encouragement and support for qualified small and medium enterprises and local vendors, which is in line with the government's strategy for developing this segment of the economy. Musanada's internal governance system including tender opening, procurement and technical and commercial evaluation committees ensures fairness during the award process.

Key infrastructure projects such as developing the airport road network and the Future School's Project have come under Musanada's jurisdiction. How does the company balance national and foreign involvement when overseeing these projects?

Musanada's project delivery strategy requires project managers to engage directly with the contractors for managing the successful delivery. All sectors are headed by competent UAE nationals who have requisite experience in technical aspects in both engineering and project management. A total of 86% of Musanada's senior management positions are filled by UAE nationals. Through our strong commitment to Emiratization we then incorporate the specialized services and competencies of expatriates as acquired, sometimes offsetting part of the workload, on a project-by-project basis.

While developing a project Musanada will work with the relevant government authority. How does the company work with ADDED, ADCED, and the respective SWFs in order to help guide the economy?

Authorities such as these translate Abu Dhabi's vision into specific policies and priorities, and through lawmaking will eventually require our services. These priorities eventually translate to specific capital intensive projects, the bulk of which are assigned to Musanada for delivery and maintenance. Musanada contributes to economic development by channeling the demand to the private sector. Musanada operates as a publicly owned, listed company to support government development of construction and infrastructure.

Which areas are viewed as the primary areas to invest in for 2016?

Musanada is a PJSC fully owned by the government of Abu Dhabi. Based on government priorities, the main delivery focus for 2016 has been housing, roads and infrastructure, and healthcare projects. With regard to internal investment, we will be upgrading our technology infrastructure and are building capabilities to improve the delivery from an asset lifecycle perspective.

The population of Abu Dhabi is expected to more than double between 2008 and 2030, reaching over 5 million. How will this impact on the areas of the economy that the company will focus upon?

Musanada participates regularly as a key delivery partner, accounting for approximately 70% of new development in the public sector within the Urban Planning Framework. The regional plans are being updated to address the changes in demand and demographics. Musanada's strategy focuses on ensuring that the delivery of projects takes place in a coordinated and integrated manner to ensure complete readiness for community occupation in time with the delivery schedule.

Recently, the real estate sector has shown signs of slowing down due to a decrease in government spending. How do you asses the market levelling out and how will this affect the company?

The ongoing slump in the oil prices has definitely led to re-evaluation of government priorities. Musanada has been asked to focus on priority projects in different sectors. However, we see that the government is still targeting a healthy overall spend over the next few years. Musanada will remain the main driver of demand in Abu Dhabi, while the rapid infrastructure development in Dubai and other GCC region poses an ongoing challenge for acquiring services.