TBY talks to Abdullah Sirajuddin, CEO, Al Balad Al Ameen on the sector.

Abdullah Sirajuddin

To what extent has Mecca been exempt from the downturn in the local construction sector over recent years?

We have visitors to Mecca throughout the year and there is always a demand for all forms of support in hospitality, the food sector, and transportation. The government also puts in a great deal of effort and finances into infrastructure, transportation, facilities for the Hajj, and Haram itself. It has invested a tremendous amount of money to expand more facilities for the comfort of the visitors. With all this being said, although the situation is not as it was two years ago, it is still slow but steady.

How effective can the PPP model be for Mecca?

Our work is based around the PPP field as we represent the government as well as the municipality. We conducted all the financial technical initial viabilities for the project and invited investors to share in the execution of this project. We also created another line whereby investors injected funds from the private sector. Mecca has pioneered this PPP model with the ways that we have brought in these different companies. A major task is to develop the unplanned settlement around the Haram, as it is an old area and a huge landmark.