H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry, yesterday acclaimed the role played by the country’s private sector to help stay economy resilient in the face of an unprecedented, unjust blockade.
Delivering the Dean’s Lecture Series at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) here yesterday, the Minister stated Qatar is committed to incentivize the private sector and SMEs in coordination with key stakeholders. Speaking on the “Role of the private sector in Qatar’s economic and industrial development’’, he said Qatar started implementing its ambitious economic diversification and private sector development plan in 2018. The focus of the national economic diversification agenda was the productivity and competitiveness, envisaging a growth in the tourism, logistics and information and communication, led by private sector. The priority sector included manufacturing, financial services and professional and scientific activities. Economic clusters, foreign direct investments, private sector participation and knowledge and innovation are the key diversification enablers, he added.
Minister Al Kuwari noted that the “Own Your Factory in Qatar in 72 Hours” programme, established in August 2017, was aimed at fast-tracking the establishment of more manufacturing companies and factories in Qatar. “Jahiz 1&2” is an initiative leasing ready-to- operate manufacturing facilities to SME owners with innovative and aspirational industrial projects, for a period of 5 years at competitive prices. The development of single window to complete business transactions and aligning manufacturing outputs with procurement needs helped boost the private sector growth.
On the country’s manufacturing strategy, the Minister said the government had identified the target sectors. 166 industrial establishments started production after the beginning of the blockade in June 2017 to May 2019, compared to 53 industrial establishments that entered the actual production stage one year before the blockade during the period from June 2016 to June 2017 with a growth rate of 213 percent.
The period witnessed 283 new products or increased production. Chemical and Petrochemical products accounted for 33.7 percent of this, while construction and transport accounted for 29.7 percent; and the food and beverage industry accounted for 10.8 percent.
The minister said the recently established Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) will help attract foreign direct investment further in line with objectives set out in the QNV 2030. Businesses setting up operations in Qatar enjoy competitive benefits, including a legal environment based on English common law, the right to trade in currency, 100 percent foreign ownership, 100 percent repatriation of profits, and a 10 percent corporation tax on locally sourced profits.
He said Qatar’s total inward foreign investment increased by 5.3 percent in may 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. FDI until end of July 2019 exceeded QR34m, up 8.7 percent from a year ago. Top inward foreign direct investment regions in 2018 included EU (16 percent), US (1 percent) and Asia (excluding GCC-83 percent).
Going forward, the Minister said, Qatar will proceed with its planned economic and industrial implementation agenda with a focus on augmenting capital inflow, further promoting industry development and exports, stimulating business environment and consumer protection and competition. In the process, the country’s well-thought out economic and industrial development plan will make 10 key policy interventions.
Source from: The Peninsula