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Real estate and construction industries in Middle East call for bail out

In particular they want government controlled Gulf Sovereign Wealth funds to invest in projects.

They warn that the property boom is now firmly over and many developers as projects are cancelled and delayed many developers are struggling to find funds to keep going.

Several developers are even scrambling to raise funds to finish current projects while several Dubai-based contractors say they are owed millions of dirhams by state-linked developers and some may face bankruptcy.

'Now there's a role for the government to stimulate the sector as it did with the banking sector. It must stimulate the construction economy,' said Fatima Obaid al-Jaber, chief operating officer of the United Arab Emirate's Al Jaber Group at a MEED construction conference in Abu Dhabi.

'In the UAE we have the biggest SWF. A part of it should be invested to move the cycle forward and give confidence to the economy,' she added.

Governments in the region have injected billions of dollars to defrost the financial sector as the crisis sent major global economies into recession and the property sector needs the same, the meeting heard.

Abdul Majeed Al Fahim, chairman of business and commercial development Dubai Pearl, said many property companies need help.

'There is an opportunity for public-private partnerships, opportunities for the governments to step in and be active in the development of the real estate sector,' he said.

Dubai residential real estate prices have already lost at least a quarter of their value since peaking late last year.

Adel al-Zarouni, CEO of Burooj Properties, a unit of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank said: 'Government spending will be the key to take us out of the market sentiment and current issues we are facing.'

Top executives from Saudi Arabia's construction firms said the time is ripe for SWFs to look into their own economies instead of investing outside and suffering losses.

'The Saudi SWF has invested in the Kingdom but we need more. We need SWFs to invest and be able to finance as well as be partners in shareholdings,' said Khalid Al Zamil, managing-director for strategic planning of Al Zamil Group.

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