By Sami Zaptia.
London, 21 September 2021:
The Libyan government has grant permission to the state Housing and Infrastructure Board (HIB) to contract by direct assignment with a coalition of Egyptian companies (Orascom – Hassan Allam Pioneers of Modern Engineering) to implement the project to complete the Third Ring Road in Tripoli.
The decision came through cabinet Resolution No. 193 of 2021 regarding permission for the HIB to contract to complete the Third Ring Road in Tripoli at a cost of 4.263 billion dinars.
The Third Ring Road and Brazil’s Odebrecht/LBCD
It will be recalled, and as reported on by this writer for Libya Herald in June 2013, the Third Ring Road contract had been awarded in 2007 by the Qaddafi regime to the Libyan Brazilian Construction and Development Company (LBCD), a joint venture operation between Odebrecht (60%) and the Urban Development Holding Company (UDHC) (40%), a subsidiary of HIB.
The US$ 350 million Tripoli Third Ring Road project involved the construction of two, three-lane roadways running in both directions, with 21 bridges and overpasses and two service roads, totalling 23.8 kilometres. The contract had employed up to 2,000 multinational workers.
The contract was to be re-offered
After the 2011 revolution that ended the Qaddafi regime, and as early as June 2013, the HIB’s Chairman, Mahmoud Ajaj, had said that the remaining sectors of the Tripoli Third Ring Road project would be re-offered to companies to bid for.
Moreover, Ajaj had announced that Odebrecht would be given a chance to offer for its section of the project – without giving any further details.
HIB sitting on LD 50 bn worth of stalled contracts
Libya’s HIB is the implementing arm of Libya’s Ministry of Housing and Utilities. At the time, it was estimated to have had projects worth up to LD 50 bn (US$40bn).
Tripoli International Airport consortium
Odebrecht was also part of the joint venture that was awarded the Tripoli International Airport project in 2007. Odebrecht, through its Portuguese subsidiary Bento Pedroso Construcoes (BPC), had held 50 percent, Turkey’s TAV 25 percent and Lebanon’s Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) 25 percent share in the JV.
AECOM to project manage
In 2013, the HIB head had also revealed that US Project Management firm AECOM had agreed to return to Libya to resume its work with HIB.
Ajaj had revealed that AECOM would have a role in assessing contracts and that contracts found wanting would be replaced. He also expected AECOM to help in contract negotiations with foreign contractors regarding their status and claims for compensation.
Unfortunately, as Libya’s security situation deteriorated rapidly, all these plans were abandoned.
The award by Libya of the Third Ring Road contract to Egypt comes on the back of Prime Minister Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba’s visit to Cairo last week. The visit resulted in the signing of 14 MoUs and six agreements.