The Business Year

Qatar is undergoing a minor industrial renaissance thanks to smart legislation, improvements to the service sector, and the resilience of leading economic actors, resulting in newfound self-sufficiency.

Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari

Minister, Commerce and Industry

Qatar has undertaken several measures to improve its ease of doing business by reducing the number of procedures and time required to start a business, introducing a one-stop shop to streamline foreign investment applications, providing greater support for international investors throughout all stages of their applications, and offering consumer credit scores to banks, financial institutions, and borrowers. Qatar has also abolished the paid-in minimum capital requirement for limited liability companies and exempted invested foreign capital from income tax for up to 10 years, for specific investment projects. These measures have resulted in improved rankings when it comes to the starting a business or access to credit information indicators. Furthermore, Qatar has issued new laws and introduced amendments to existing legislation to attract and encourage domestic and foreign investments. These include amendments to the Investment Free Zones Law and draft law regulation for the Investment of Non-Qatari Capital in Economic Activity, which allows up to 100% foreign investment in all economic and trade activities. It is also drafting a public and private partnership law to pave the way for several investment projects.

Saad Sherida al-Kaabi

Minister, Energy Affairs, President & CEO, Qatar Petroleum

As Qatar’s national oil and gas company, Qatar Petroleum is responsible for all oil and gas activities in Qatar, including exploration, production, refining, transport, and storage. In this role, Qatar Petroleum plays a critical role in driving and delivering Qatar’s energy strategy. In April 2017, I announced the lifting of the moratorium on new projects utilizing North Field gas, which was imposed in April 2005. This immediately re-energized industrial development in Qatar, placing the North Field Expansion project and the planned world-class petrochemicals complex at Ras Laffan at the center of Qatar’s industrial growth. Progress does not end there. In conducting its operations, Qatar Petroleum is harnessing technologies to deliver enhanced and more efficient performance across our assets. The current industrial renaissance in Qatar includes strategic initiatives in the services sector in addition to traditional heavy industries such as processing and extracting hydrocarbons. Qatar Petroleum has the largest industrial base in Qatar, and we are a major consumer of technologically complex industrial services, which we are leveraging to catalyze the growth of the local services industry.

Akbar Al Baker

Group CEO, Akbar Al Baker

Qatar Airways has launched 24 destinations since the start of the blockade and continues with its significant program of expansion of new routes to further connect passengers around the globe. We currently connect more than 160 destinations every day through our Doha hub, the award-winning Hamad International Airport (HIA). Qatar Airways has also recently launched an array of exciting new destinations, including Mombasa, Kenya; Da Nang, Vietnam; and Gothenburg, Sweden. The airline will add a number of exciting new destinations to its extensive route network in 2019, including Valletta in Malta and Isfahan in Iran, to name just a few. Our long-term strategy is to expand at an aggressive but planned rate. We have many exciting new plans lined up for 2019. We will introduce our brand-new economy class seat in March, announce and launch new destinations, and continue to roll out our award-winning Qsuite Business Class seat to new destinations. We will also continue to roll out our state-of-the-art Airbus A350 aircraft and expand our ‘Super-Wi-Fi’ option across our fleet.

Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al-Thani

Governor, Qatar Central Bank

We have been living with the economic blockade for well over a year and have returned to “business as usual.” Most of the volatile non-resident deposits have moved out of the system and, as a result, banks now have more stable deposit base. Besides, their capitalization levels are significantly above the regulatory minimum levels and the levels of non-performing loans are fairly low. Besides, these non-performing loans are adequately provisioned for. We regularly undertake stress tests of various risks to ascertain banking system resilience. In addition, we also undertake regular on-site inspection of banks coupled with off-site surveillance. The balance of evidence points to strong resilience in the banking sector.

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani

Chairman, Al Faisal Holding

Qatar’s economy recorded a remarkable performance in 2018, with GDP higher than the previous year. This clearly demonstrates the resilience and strength of the economy resulting from the successful implementation of the government’s strategy to drive economic diversification. By driving Qatar’s economic self-sufficiency and expanding Qatar’s international trading relationships, this strategy also clearly mitigates any effects of the blockade. As one of the most diversified groups in Qatar, Aamal’s business strategy and objectives are aligned with the government’s, and our performance in the first nine months of 2018 reflects that, with the delivery of a net profit of USD92.447 million. This further demonstrates the underlying resilience of the private sector in Qatar, as well as Aamal’s expertise in identifying and seizing the right opportunities that our strong local economy provides. Our three latest industrial projects in copper, aluminum, and drum materials manufacturing are in line with our strategy to target opportunities to further diversify our industrial manufacturing division by taking first-mover advantage in sectors that offer strong growth potential and complement our current businesses.

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