The Business Year

Thabet Mubarek Al-Sawyeed


Thabet Mubarek Al-Sawyeed

Governor, Saudi Contracting Authority (SCA)


Thabet Mubarek Al-Sawyeed was appointed Governor of SCA in 2016. Prior to that, he established his career within Saudi Aramco after being accepted into the Aramco Preparatory College. After obtaining his degree in mechanical engineering at KFUPM, he served in progressive roles, starting as project engineering and ultimately becoming Head of Enterprise Architecture. Al-Sawyeed also holds a master’s degree in engineering science from the University of New South Wales.

“SCA has developed a comprehensive strategy and a roadmap to follow toward achieving its goals.“

What has changed in the operations of SCA over the last few years?

SCA has developed a comprehensive strategy and a roadmap to follow toward achieving its goals. Understanding this strategy will give you clear perspective about what SCA is doing. The strategy has emerged from a careful analysis of the sector. We worked closely with more than 50 different governmental and private-sector organizations to develop a clear path, and we have been busy executing our priorities for the past three years. Our overall goal is to reform the sector and overcome all the obstacles that companies working in contracting face. We have divided our activities into 34 initiatives that target the sector’s problems and split them into three different groups: regulatory; value-added services; and internal priorities. The 16 regulatory initiatives focus on creating rules that develop the sector, which includes licensing contractors and standardizing contracts in order to reduce legal cases and preserve the rights of parties. We have also completed a government procurement system, a rethink of government contracts, and an initiative around contractor financing. The nine initiatives that focus on providing value-added services to the sector include statistics and publications. Our information center gives a full picture about the contracting sector, for example the number of companies, the number of employees, the size of companies, and the prices of materials used. This helps all companies that work in the industry or want to enter the industry evaluate their options.

How has the authority addressed the procurement law?

There was significant motivation at the Ministry of Finance to update the government procurement system. One of our first priorities was to partner with the ministry to develop a new approach. We had a series of workshops with contractors and other stakeholders and gathered more than 130 comments, which was shared with the Ministry of Finance. The new procurement system preserves the rights of suppliers, encourages competitiveness and integrity, and guarantees the rights of contractors by setting up a clear mechanism to adjust contract prices and compensate in the event of high prices for raw materials, customs duties, taxes, or if the contractor encounters unexpected material difficulties during the planning of the contract.

How have you developed your services?

We created our own services from scratch based on needs that we discovered from an impact analysis. We have done extensive studies to determine the services that the sector needs, and we bench-marked international and regional entities to evaluate the different services that are common elsewhere. Some of these services fulfill a need by themselves, while others create a virtuous ecosystem that resolves other issues. As a result of our exhibition and conferences initiative, for example, we were able to present most public-sector projects to contractors. In February 2020, some 35 public and private entities presented 850 projects worth more than SAR600 billion during our event, the Future Projects Forum (FPF). This event became the largest platform for projects in the region almost instantly, which proves that our analysis was extremely rational. Also, the academic sector, which will eventually lead to better quality. All these services are uniquely tailored to the sector and are the result of completed initiatives.



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