Posted on April 07, 2011

Qatar enjoys political stability and prosperous economy, a high credit rating of AA by Standard & Poors and Aa2 by Moody’s which predicts stable futuristic prospects, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani said addressing the opening session of Business and Investment in Qatar Forum here yesterday.

The Prime Minister said that the ratings are considered the highest in the region and even do excel the ratings of a considerable number of developed countries.

“This forum is convened at the time when there is unrest in some countries in the Middle East and North African region. Thus, the convening of this forum at such a timing is increasingly important as it represents a unique opportunity to clearly display a number of facts about the State of Qatar for investors and businessmen in several areas mostly pertaining to economic situation and its bright future prospects, the large projects now underway as well as those which are now in the stage of planning and which cover various economic sectors and will be included in the State of Qatar’s ambitious development plans for coming years,” said the Prime Minister.

Another example which demonstrates the attractiveness of Qatar is that it is ranked number 17 in the year 2010, by ascending five more grades than the year 2009 in the global competitiveness index of the report which is annually issued by the World Economic Forum.

Qatar’s grade is the highest in the Middle East and North Africa region. It excels a number of states in the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The rating which Qatar has acquired clearly reflects its high competitiveness, the Prime Minister said.

The business advantages in Qatar, he added, also include the existence of a low-cost taxation system with a single chip which amounts to 10 percent at the maximum; business laws and legislations which are periodically revised to make them more flexible and more attractive to local and foreign investors alike; and the various investment incentives in all economic sectors including granting the foreign investors 100 percent ownership of projects in a number of sectors. This favourable business environment, besides the flexible investment laws made Qatar a favoured investment destination especially in the field of energy for major international and American companies, he said.

US is a major business ally of Qatar: PM

In addition the United States of America is a major business partner of the State of Qatar.

It occupies a high position on the list of the main partners of Qatar for several years.

For instance, the United States of America was the largest commercial partner of the State of Qatar, with 20 percent higher imports value of about $3bn in 2009; and it is expected to maintain this position in the coming years in light of the requirement of the ambitious development projects for advanced systems and machinery of which the American companies are the forefront producers, the Prime Minister said.

After achieving a 16 percent growth rate in 2010, one of the highest internationally, the Qatari economy is expected to achieve a 20 percent increase in stable princes in 2011 according to the estimates of the International Monetary Fund, he noted.

This strong growth rate comes on the background of achieving one of the most important requirements of development represented in completing the establishment of all natural gas liquefaction plants by the end of 2010, thus raising the output capacity to the world highest 77 million ton annually, he said.

The Prime Minister said that economic expectations for the coming years are optimistic and supported by an ambitious spending plan nearing $170bn to be assigned for the existing projects and the projects planned for the coming 10 years to expand and modernise the infrastructure in par with the most advanced worldwide.

These projects involve all transport facilities including the new Doha International Airport whose first phase will be completed at the beginning of 2012 with 30 million passenger capacity, a final phase with over 50 million capacity, he pointed out.

Also, recently the new $5bn Doha Port project contract was awarded.

The project will have a capacity of 2 million containers and will be connected to a 5km water channel which will create a 10km long space extending through the 82 sq km industrial state.

There is also the $30bn massive project of an integrated metro network project which will shortly be implemented in Doha and neighbouring areas.

Work is underway to modernise road networks in various areas of the country and to increase electricity and desalinated water output capacity in line with the increasing demand for these vital commodities, the Prime Minister said.

“Another field I am going to highlight is the financial sector which enjoys stability and being able to achieve higher growth as it was not affected except in a limited way due to the international financial crisis implications because of the following reticent banking policy.

In spite of that, Qatar has implemented three programmes as a proactive step to support the banking sector and one of them is supporting a capital base for the Qatari banks,” he said.

He pointed out that the stability of the banking sector is also due to the legislations and laws governing its work which could be described as reticent, that is beside the concerned authorities extra efforts for supporting and strengthening the control and supervision on the banking sector in order to match the best international standards.

In the field of control and supervision, merging regulatory functions of Qatar Financial Centre, Qatar Authority for Securities and insurance sector is also going to take place in the near future under one umbrella affiliating to Qatar Central Bank, he added.

Qatar is also giving high attention to the field of education and health where mass investments were pumped in recent year in order to raise their standards and we will continue to supports these standards in the coming years.

In the field of education precisely some reputed American universities opened branches within the Education City affiliated to Qatar Foundation, which contributed truly in raising the high education standard in Qatar, the Prime Minister said.

Within the Education City, Qatar Science and Technology Park had been established and this in turn attracted a number of international pioneer companies some of which are American like Microsoft and general electric where support services, facilities and programmes were provided in order to enable these companies to conduct advanced researches, the Prime Minister said.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil Corporation Rex W Tillerson said Qatar “promotes investment, innovation, free trade, open competition, and access to resources that will continue to bring long-term economic development to Qatar and much-needed energy to the world’s growing economies.” Tillerson said few nations in the world offer a more dynamic business environment than Qatar.

And even fewer have leaders who are more farsighted in reform, who are more focused on anticipating the needs of their citizens at a time of tremendous change and who are working harder to expand education and opportunity for men and for women.

source: QNA