Despite challenges like low oil prices and the economic blockade imposed on Qatar in June, the country has managed to grow its economy and maintain monetary and fiscal stability, Ministry of Finance undersecretary Khalaf bin Ahmed al-Mannai has said.
Addressing the ‘10th Annual Meeting of the OECD-Mena Senior Budget Officials’, which concludes Thursday in Doha, al-Mannai said the meeting “is a great opportunity” for the Mena region “to learn from each other.”
“I am delighted to see such strong attendance for this important event, which comes amid challenging times and budget constraints for regional economies as a result of the decline in oil and gas prices since the second half of 2015. This fall has led to declining growth rates across the region.
“However, the State of Qatar has managed to weather these challenges, grow its economy, and maintain monetary and fiscal stability, while the nation’s economic outlook remains positive,” the undersecretary pointed out.
Hosted by the Ministry of Finance, the meeting provides a unique opportunity for dialogue and interaction, to share policy experiences, and discuss budgetary issues between decision-makers in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Regional challenges and opportunities, as well as efforts to enhance the efficiency of public spending, cope with global economic uncertainties and maintain growth rates at acceptable levels were key topics discussed during the two-day meeting.
Al-Mannai lauded the “wise guidance” of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, which enabled Qatar to mitigate the impact of the illegal blockade imposed on the country six months ago.
“Our successful economic policies have propelled Qatar to second place globally in terms of providing a stable macroeconomic environment, eighth in terms of economic performance, and 18th on the Global Competitiveness Index 2016 Report,” he said.
He also praised the OECD for providing “an important platform” to address regional challenges and opportunities, which were discussed during the meeting, including efforts to enhance efficiency of public spending, cope with global economic uncertainties, and maintain growth rates at acceptable levels.
The meetings were co-chaired by Qatar’s Ministry of Finance director Bader Ahmed al-Qayed and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Finance director Martin Kelleners.
The closed sessions, which were attended by delegates from Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, South Korea, Iceland, Algeria, Germany, and the UK, focused on recent budget developments in the Mena region, restructuring public spending for efficiency, OECD best practices for performance budgeting, and long-term sustainability for public finances.
“We look forward to producing proposals and recommendations to strengthen cooperation between Mena countries and OECD members as we work to sustain financial stability and promote economic growth,” al-Mannai added.
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