Qatar, which expects 2-5%-3% growth this year, is basing oil price at $45 a barrel in the upcoming budget for 2018 that would seek to strengthen the local economies as part of efforts to defend the economy amidst the continuing Gulf crisis, according to a top government official.
"We are going to budget oil at $45 a barrel for 2018, which will be conservative in our approach," HE the Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi told Euromoney Conference, which was inaugurated by HE the Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.
A different initiative will be launched to promote the private sector and provide support for the areas which need support, especially food security and infrastructure, he said, Qatar has a different economic perspective (in view of the Gulf crisis) at present and needs to focus more internally.
Last week, the regular cabinet meeting, presided over by the Premier, had approved the draft general state budget for the fiscal year 2018.
The draft general budget has been prepared with the focus on completing major projects in key sectors and projects related to the 2022 World Cup, continuing the work on increasing non-oil revenues, increasing the efficiency of public spending, allocating financial resources for the development of housing plots for citizens and on supporting projects related to food security, small and medium industries, tourism sector, infrastructure development in the economic and free zones.
"I had a session with Shura council discussing about our budget proposal. The message is that we are going to put more on the local economy. We are going to take more initiatives in promoting the private sector, especially in infrastructure," he said, adding the private sector is expected to have an upper hand in driving the overall economic growth in the country.
Highlighting that the economy has performed well in the first half of this year; al-Emadi said most of the growth came from the non-oil sector, which is very important for Qatar's macroeconomic strategy.
Qatar was outperforming all the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) countries economically in terms of diversification.
Since June, the blockade has created more opportunities to promote the local economy, so that Qatar’s private sector would outperform in terms of real GDP (gross domestic product), according to him.
Referring to the economic blockade, which is now onto the sixth month, al-Emadi said many people thought that Qatar, in the first two to three weeks (of Gulf crisis), would face major challenges but the economy has proved it otherwise.
“Qatar economy is very much resilient because we have invested heavily in its infrastructure, ports, airports, airlines and sovereign wealth fund.
These entities play a major role in defending the economy,” he said.
He said the crisis would help creating more opportunities for the local economies and should probably be a good wake up call to speed up reforms.
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