By Mushreq Abbas forAl-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
In an interview with Al-Monitor, Basra governor Majid al-Nasrawi confirmed that his city had contracted a British security consulting firm (whose name he would not disclose before the completion of the contract) to oversee Basra’s security contracts and provide studies in this regard.
Nasrawi noted that corruption is pervasive in all parts of the Iraqi state, which operates according to outdated standards and mechanisms. He confirmed that the US company Hill International had prepared Basra’s 2040 Strategic Plan, which would include all of Basra’s projects until that date.
He revealed what he dubbed the “KMK phenomenon,” which involves local companies linked to political parties that operate in the name of foreign companies in the city. Here is the text of the interview:
Al-Monitor: You took office as governor of Basra four months ago. Anyone who returns to Basra after some time away sees it as a “tired” city. How do you see it?
Nasrawi: As a citizen [of Basra], I have always felt that the city never gets what it deserves. Basra’s budget for 2012 was $3 billion, yet despite that we have not seen a significant change in the reality of the situation. Thus, I think that Basra must seriously address the reality it is facing. Basra did not diagnose its problems correctly, and thus the treatments have been wrong over the years. This is evidenced by the fact that money was spent and efforts were made, but they did not change the reality of this “tired” city at any level. This is characteristic of the entire Iraqi experience.
Personally, I’ve tried to search for long-term treatments for Basra’s problems. I did not pay much attention to patchwork solutions. For those who claim that this is all an adventure for electoral purposes, I would say that it is not a requirement that we see results now. Rather, it is important that the solutions be deep-rooted and in the form of a road map that future governments can rely on.
Hill International has announced that it has received a contract from the Governorate of Basra in Iraq to provide program management services in connection with Basra’s 2040 Strategic Plan, which involves rehabilitation of existing projects and the construction of new projects related to Basra’s infrastructure throughout the region.
The one-year contract which is automatically renewable for an additional two years has an estimated value to Hill of approximately $54 million over the full three-year contract term.
Pursuant to the contract, Hill will be providing consulting services to assist with the management of Basra’s capital projects by developing strategies for infrastructure planning and rehabilitation, overseeing the implementation of project designs, assisting with the qualification of contractors, reviewing project bids, providing on-site supervision, and auditing contract advances and payments. The Governorate of Basra has an estimated capital budget of $30 billion over the next three years.
“We are honored to be part of this ambitious program that will positively affect the residents of Basra,” said Mohammed Al Rais (pictured), Senior Vice President and Managing Director (Middle East) for Hill’s Project Management Group. “We are confident that our client and our team will be successful in delivering on this promising vision,” added Al Rais.
Hill International has announced that it has received a contract from the Iraq Ministry of Youth and Sports to provide design, review, and construction management services in connection with the Al Samawah Olympic Stadium in Samawah, Iraq.
The 28-month contract has an estimated value to Hill of approximately IQD 2.6 billion ($2.2 million).
The new Olympic-sized, 20,000-seat stadium, which will be designed to comply with FIFA standards, is expected to have a construction cost of approximately IQD 70.9 billion ($61.0 million). This is the third sports stadium in Iraq whose construction is being managed by Hill.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports continues to show confidence in Hill and that makes me very proud of our team in Iraq,” said Mohammed Al Rais (pictured), Senior Vice President and Managing Director (Middle East) for Hill’s Project Management Group.
Hill International has said it expects to see big growth in demand for construction work in Iraq, and wants to encourage more large international contractors to work in the country.
Its senior vice-president and managing director of Middle East operations, Mohammed Al Rais (pictured), told Construction News:
“We do not see the high level of construction companies in Iraq on the scale we would like to ensure quality of delivery.
“The security situation is always a consideration for the major contractors. We hope that will subside in the next year and we will have the international [contractors] coming in.“
He said that most contractors are medium-sized firms from elsewhere in the wider region working in partnership with local contractors, and added that Hill is working with its clients in Iraq to standardise design-and-build contracts.
Hill International has announced that it has been awarded a contract from the State Housing Commission (SHC) of the Iraq Ministry of Construction and Housing to provide project management oversight (PMO) consulting services in connection with various housing developments throughout Iraq.
The two-year contract has an estimated value to Hill of approximately $5.7 million.
Raouf S. Ghali (pictured), President of Hill’s Project Management Group (International), said:
”We are honored to be working for the SHC and helping to build housing for the Iraqi people.“
Hill International, with 3,700 employees in 100 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management and construction claims and consulting services.
Fox Business reports that James Biden, the younger brother of US Vice President Joe Biden (pictured), is about to land a potentially lucrative contract to build 100,000 homes in Iraq.
Since November 2010, James Biden has reportedly been the executive vice president of HillStone, in which Hill International owns a 51% stake, with a group of minority partners, including Biden, holding the rest.
Fox’s Charlie Gasparino says James Biden got the job “despite [having] little if any documented work history in residential construction“.
David Richter, the president of Hill International, is reported as saying “It really helps to have the brother of the vice president as a partner“.
Hill International, the global leader in managing construction risk, announced on Monday that it has been awarded a contract by the Iraq Ministry of Youth and Sports to provide project management services in connection with construction of the new Al Risafa Sports Stadium in Baghdad, Iraq.
The three-year contract has an estimated value to Hill of approximately IQD 3.8 billion ($3.3 million).
The new Olympic-sized, 30,000-seat stadium, which will be designed to comply with FIFA standards, is expected to have a construction cost of approximately IQD 116 billion ($100 million).
“We are honored that the Ministry of Youth and Sports continues to show confidence in Hill,” said Mohammed Al Rais, Senior Vice President and Managing Director (Middle East) for Hill’s Project Management Group. “We look forward to helping manage construction of this prestigious project,” Al Rais added.
Hill International (NYSE:HIL), the global leader in managing construction risk, announced on Monday that it has been awarded a contract by the Iraq Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to provide design management and construction management services for the new Al Bayaa Teaching Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq.
The three-year contract has an estimated value to Hill of approximately $5.2 million.
The hospital, which is expected to cost approximately $210 million, will have 600 beds and will facilitate training of physicians and other medical professionals.
“This new teaching hospital will help to improve healthcare services in Baghdad and throughout Iraq,” said Akram Ogaily, Senior Vice President in charge of Iraq operations for Hill’s Project Management Group. “We are proud to be participating in this important project,” added Ogaily.