Asset management crucial for Middle East governments

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Mature asset management models have already been developed

Fueled by strong economic expansion, infrastructure sector in the Middle East is rapidly growing in size, maturity and professionalism, and needs to be managed effectively in order to ensure the financial and physical sustainability of these multi-billion dollar investments. However, experts believe that there is still a substantial gap in the management of these infrastructure assets once they are built. While the concept of asset management is relatively new to the region, it is vital for Middle East governments that invest billions of dollars, to ensure that their infrastructure investments are efficient and deliver value for money in the long term.

“It should be noted that asset management is a new but rapidly emerging area across the world. In the Middle East, some asset intensive organisations especially in the transport, power, water and telecom sectors have taken the lead in terms of focusing on improving their asset management practices,” said Amit Anand, Director of Capital Projects and Infrastructure, PwC Middle East, who will be one of the speakers at the first Government Asset Management Congress 2012.

“However the majority of the remaining organisations are at a very early stage when it comes to even having access to basic data about their assets, before using it for any meaningful decision-making. We therefore see a big gap in this area in both the government and private sector organisations in the Middle East,” he continued.

Anand believes that there are numerous benefits of adopting emerging asset management practices. Some of them include better customer service to the public, enhanced control over capital and operational expenditure, effective identification and management of asset related risks, as well as improved economic and social returns on infrastructure investments.

Without an underlying asset management framework in most organisations, the opportunity to drive efficiencies and performance is big. “Asset intensive organisations in the region are at a point of choice where they can either continue to operate their assets the way they always have, or really seize the opportunity to create a real competitive advantage in their market,” said Anand.

Anand said the conference is timely for the region as it could address the gaps in the region’s asset management capabilities, adding that it will play an important role in increasing awareness and bringing a much needed cultural shift within organisations.

“The opportunity that the organisations in the Middle East have is therefore quite unique and timely. As these relatively new organisations in the Middle East embark on building new infrastructure, they can also focus on developing a robust framework to manage these assets for when they get commissioned. There are enough examples available overseas that can provide guidance on developing and implementing an organizations’ asset management transformation roadmap,” he said.

“Mature asset management models have already been developed in Europe, and the lessons learnt can be employed in the Middle East region, in order to speed up the development process,” said Atif Raja Managing Director of KEMA, also speaking at the conference.

With the Roads and Transport Authority Dubai as the strategic partner for the Congress, the event will be the first opportunity of its kind in the region and will see the participation of senior figures from a host of government organisations from across the GCC. The conference takes place from May 27 until May 29 at the Address Hotel, Dubai Marina, and UAE. Speakers for the conference include Adi Al Dees, director of asset management department at the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai, Dr Naïf Dandachi, director of asset management at TRANSCO, Abu Dhabi, John Arnup, director of global engineering for DP World in the UAE and many more.