*Emir issues Decree Law No 21 of 2017, amending provisions of Law No 34 of 2005 on Investment Free Zones


His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued on Monday Decree Law No 21 of 2017, amending some provisions of the Law No 34 of 2005 on Investment Free Zones.
The decree law is effective starting from its date of issue and is to be published in the official gazette.
Commenting on the new law, HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, said the amendments were recommended by the Cabinet based on the Emir's instructions to speed up economic development and investment, besides providing the highest possible advantages to both Qataris and foreign investors. "Accordingly, the Cabinet had worked throughout the past period on the strategy to advance the economic development policy of the country through effective and innovative means and to benefit from the available opportunities."
The premier said the Cabinet evaluated the local, regional and international developments for achieving the nation's economic targets and attract local and foreign investments. The amendments were also aimed at enhancing the business environment in the country and meet the challenges and changes in the economic field. "This would further boost the authenticity of state organisations to attain Qatar National Vision 2030 and its national strategies and economic orientations based on freeing up trade and economy, and give room for the private sector to play a pioneering role in the economic activities in the country."
He said creating a conducive investment atmosphere is a joint responsibility of the State and the private sector.
HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser pointed out that the free investment zones offered excellent investment opportunities and would lead to increase in GDP, the volume of investment and trade, as well as the creation of job opportunities.

An artistic rendition of a free zone

Investments in free zones enjoy a variety of advantages and incentives in accordance with the free zones law, most important of which are: no limits on the the capital, freedom to choose the legal outline of the project, freedom to put price tags for products and profit rates, and the exemption of capital assets, and production, imports and exports from taxes and other charges. Also, the projects at the free investment zones are given various guarantees, most importantly freehold ownership.
He further affirmed that the amendments would create new zones, eradicate all hurdles to capital inflow, allow the entry of modern technology and develop the existing free zones. It would also give special incentives to logistic services and projects that use local components.
He also stressed that the free zones authority would facilitate the issue of licenses to save investors' time and efforts. It would also provide plots equipped with all the necessary facilities to set up projects. The free zones authority will also help in getting visas for investors and the recruitment of the necessary workforce.
The free investment zones in Qatar include the Manateq and Hamad International Airport which are being set up at an estimated cost of QR50bn.
Meanwhile , HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani said the new law would strengthen the economy of the country and attract foreign and local investments. It would also help in developing the private sector in the country.
He stated that in addition to this law, amendments are being made to the law of investment of non-Qatari capital, and another law would be issued regarding the partnership between the public and the private sectors. He said that all the economic legislations would be reviewed aiming at achieving the desired economic diversification and equip the private sector to face the challenges of low oil prices and the geopolitical and environmental changes.

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