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Kuwait Plans to Build $6.2 Billion Highways Over 3-1/2 Years

Kuwait plans to build highways costing about 1.7 billion dinars ($6.2 billion) over the next three and a half years as it seeks to become a commercial and financial hub in the region.

“Ministry of Public Works is currently designing highways that will be tendered in the coming three and a half years, one after the other, for a cost of 1.7 billion dinars and a total length of 550 kilometres (340 miles),” Minister of Public Works Fadhel Safar said in a telephone interview today in Kuwait City.

Parliament in February 2010 approved a 30.8 billion-dinar, four-year development plan that aims to lure international investors and includes projects to increase oil and gas production and construction of a railway network, cities and a port on Boubyan Island.

In October last year, the state’s Central Tenders Committee said a group led by Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. made the lowest bid to design, build, operate and maintain a bridge for 738.8 million dinars ($2.6 billion).

Jaber Al-Ahmad bridge, one of the country’s biggest infrastructure projects, will link the mainland to Subbiya in the north. The contract then got “dragged into political conflicts” Vice Chairman Raad al-Abdullah of Combined Group Contracting Co., which has a stake 20 percent stake in the bid, said on June 9.

The economy of Kuwait, which holds the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves, suffers from a “number of structural imbalances” that require the “correction” of the state’s budget position and measures to promote the private sector’s contribution to growth, the state’s ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said on Aug. 15, according to state run news agency KUNA.

Kuwait was the fourth-biggest producer, along with the United Arab Emirates, in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in July. The country produced 2.52 million barrels of oil a day on average, according to Bloomberg data.

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