SR557m worth of projects opened in Khamis Mushayt
Prince Mansour bin Miteb, minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs, opened a number of developmental and utility projects worth SR557 million in Khamis Mushayt on Wednesday. The projects are related mostly to roads and parks in various branch municipalities in the province.
Speaking on the occasion, Khamis Mushayt Mayor Ibrahim Al-Khalil said that a number of major municipal projects were being undertaken in the cities and rural areas of the province.
Drawing the minister’s attention to the problems faced by project contractors, Chairman of the Mahail Asir municipality Hamad Al-Dirham said: “Contractors often declare that they don’t have enough funds to continue the work on the projects with some abandoning them altogether due to the rising cost of construction and labor.” He urged the ministry to take up the matter with the Finance Ministry for raising the amount of funds allocated to cover the cost of the projects.
In response, Prince Miteb pointed out that while it was true that some projects were being stalled or even abandoned because of factors related to contractors, related government departments were also to blame for the failure to complete the projects. He said that in some cases no public quotations were invited even after the approval of the projects while in other cases, there were no studies conducted to show their feasibility.
“This shows that the fault is not with the Finance Ministry but with some departments in the ministry or municipalities,” the minister said, adding that the ministry is currently monitoring the progress of all projects under its purview.
He said that contractors were to blame 70 percent of the time for stalled projects while the remaining 30 percent was the fault of municipalities and other government departments.
President of Sarat Abidah suggested that the minister allow him to bring in foreign contractors to complete the projects in his municipality which had been delayed due to lack of qualified contractors in the country. The minister admitted that there was a dearth of qualified contractors in all provinces and that the ministry was studying the possibility of inviting foreign contractors through a merger system which would combine the national cadres with the foreign work force.
In a special meeting with Mayor Al-Khalil and municipal chairpersons in the province at the Bin Hamsan village in Khamis Mushayt on Thursday, Prince Miteb hinted that the salary structure and perks of civil servants would get a boost shortly.
“As a member of the Civil Service Ministry’s committee which is studying the regulations of the civil service system, I would like to say that we are striving to improve the system in coordination with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Civil Service and that a new phase of programs will soon see the light of day,” the prince said.
The prince’s remarks came in response to a statement of Misfar Al-Wadei, chairman of the Khamis Mushayt municipality, who drew his attention to the fact that skilled people were quitting the municipal service due to poor salaries and incentives compared to other sectors.
The prince also stressed the need for taking municipal services to those citizens who were incapable of lodging their complaints with the municipality and whose daily lives depended on these services.
Addressing the municipal officials, Prince Miteb said: “The government of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah strives to remove all obstacles in the way of every citizen, especially the poor who are in pressing need of services but are not in a position to bring their demands to the municipal authorities.” He added that priority should be accorded to those citizens whose daily needs are linked to the municipal services.