MOVING ALONG

Kuwait 2017 | INFRASTRUCTURE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mutlaq Mubarak Al-Sanei, General Manager of Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects (KAPP), on investors, current projects, and prospects for the year ahead.

Mutlaq Mubarak Al-Sanei
BIOGRAPHY
Mutlaq Mubarak Al-Sanei is the General Manager of KAPP, which is involved in operating Kuwait's PPP program. Prior to that, he was the Director of the Follow Up Department-General Reservation sector at Kuwait Investment Authority. With more than 30 years of experience in the management of diversified investments across the Middle East and North Africa and around 10 years in the management of real estate and tourism projects in North Africa, Al-Sanei has been a board member of well-known institutions such as Kuwait Airways, the Kuwait Economic Society, The Arab Investment Company in Saudi Arabia, and the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait.

You were recently appointed the new General Manager of KAPP. How would you describe your operational strategy for 2017?

KAPP plays a major role in allowing the private sector's participation in the Kuwaiti economy. The government has, in fact, initiated the PPP program to promote and establish collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure well-developed projects for Kuwaiti citizens with effective services. It is our priority to warrant and assure all projects are operating as planned according to the PPP Law 116/2014 and its executive regulations, while KAPP receives competitive bids for its current projects that are pivotal to the country's infrastructure. For example, while some projects such as the Kuwait National Rail Road Project or South Al-Jahra Labor City are in the pre-tender phase, others such as the Az-Zour North Power Generation, the Water Desalination Project Phase II, the Umm Al Hayman Wastewater Project, and the Municipal Solid Waste Project are currently under tender. However, we are obliged to thoroughly evaluate all proposed bids, as we are at a significant phase where we have to be aware of the significance of the projects and their importance to the economy. On the other hand, we work hard to ensure that KAPP projects are advancing as planned as well as deliver top-quality infrastructure services through these partnership projects.

The KAPP recently received proposals from a number of companies looking to become involved in Phase II of the Az-Zour North power generation and water desalination project. Who are the primary investors behind these infrastructural megaprojects and what projects will the KAPP particularly be focusing on in 2016?

KAPP has recently announced that it received the bids for Az-Zour North IWPP Phase II. It is recognized through regional and global developers' interest, interactions, and visits with vast experience and a successful project portfolio. In addition to developers, global financial institutions and credit export agencies are the key players behind the project. It is also well noted that there is increasing interest from local financial institutions and equity holders to take part in it as well. However, KAPP is working on already established projects that are well underway. No specific project is to be referred to as all current tendered projects are of priority. We strive to ensure that all projects proceed according to the planned timeline. However, the concept of PPPs is relatively new. It is a challenge to introduce PPP laws to Kuwait's business culture and guide it to adapt and adjust. KAPP's Az-Zour Phase I project is proof of the huge success of PPPs and its benefit to the economy. We have to raise awareness of such projects and their requirements, as institutions need time to adapt and deal with this new culture successfully. Moreover, there are numerous governmental entities that KAPP cooperates with. The Department of Legal Advice and Legislation has especially been fully supportive by ensuring steady legal compliance of projects with the current local regulations of the State of Kuwait. KAPP always takes the initiative to cooperate with and have great ties with related institutions.

What is your outlook for the year ahead?

KAPP looks forward to ensuring that all tendered projects are proceeding according to plan. Law No. 116 of 2014 has established our authority, and we work hard to ensure the timely implementation of projects that are of significance to Kuwait's infrastructural development.