Private sector called on to boost Qatar's non-oil economy

15 March 2016

Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani outlined Qatar’s plans to boost private investment

Qatar is planning a series of initiatives to boost investment from the private sector.

Giving the opening address MEED’s Qatar Projects conference in Doha on 15 March, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Commerce, said that growth of Qatar’s non-oil economy had been expedited and that the country was well placed to meet the country’s 2030 vision, in which economic diversification forms a key component.

The minister said that Qatar has been able to contain negative costs and had been successful in introducing new legislative reforms that have been established to increase private investment in the country’s economy.

“State legislation such as the New Companies Law has been put in place to create an investment environment to allow investors to participate in all aspects of Qatar’s economy,” said Al-Thani.

Al-Thani said that the ministry was working on a number of other initiatives to boost private investment, including establishing a PPP framework. The minister also highlighted the plan for new free zones to be implemented by 2019 to “plug the gap in logistics.”

Ali Ahmed al-Kuwari, group chief executive officer, Qatar National Bank (QNB), then told the conference that Qatar’s economy was continuing to experience growth due to economic diversification efforts, which have been driven by government investment.

Al-Kuwari said that investment of hydrocarbon revenues into diversification programmes had resulted in non-oil GDP growth remaining above 10 per cent since 2012, reaching 10.6 per cent in 2013 and 2014.

The QNB CEO said that diversification efforts were reducing the dependence of Qatar’s economy on the hydrocarbons sector, with the share of the hydrocarbons sector to Qatar’s nominal GDP having fallen from expecting to have fallen from 57 per cent in 2012 to 51.1 per cent in 2014. Al-Kuwari said the hydrocarbons sector contribution to Qatar’s GDP is forecasted to have fallen to 34 per cent in 2015, with financial services and government services having made a significant contribution to the country’s non-oil GDP in the first three quarters of 2015.

Al-Kuwair said QNB forecasted that $70-80bn a year would be invested in development projects in Qatar between 2015 and 2017.

The Qatar Projects conference then heard about the progress of Qatar’s proposed PPP framework, which will signify a major milestone in Qatar’s new economy. Saud Abdullah al-Attiyah, director of economic policies ad research department, ministry of economy and commerce, said that the ministry would submit the draft PPP law to the cabinet by August of this year.

“We hope to have the framework completed and start implementing the [PPP] law by the end of the year,” said Al-Attiyah.

Al-Attiyah said that the new PPP framework was set to offer a number of opportunities in 2016 and 2017, including a PPP programme for the construction of 10-12 public schools.

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