Qatar Development Bank (QDB), which is in the forefront of the country's diversification path, on Tuesday showcased before foreign investors, particularly from the fraternal and friendly countries, the increasing opportunities in Doha, especially in the areas of chemicals, plastic products, aluminium and aluminium products, food and beverages, and pharmaceuticals despite the unjust economic blockade.
Moreover, post blockade, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been able to get better opportunities especially from the big government agencies like Ashghal and Kahramaa, and also to others in the private sector, QDB chief executive Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa told the International Products and Exhibition Conference (IPEC), which will conclude today.
The selection of sectors for foreign participation came after QDB's evaluation based on two dimensions with one assessing the importance of the sector to the government, and how attractive the sector is to the private investors, he said.
"I encourage foreign investors to think about these sectors. There are lots of opportunities for foreign companies to invest in Qatar and they are chemicals, plastic products, aluminium and its products, food products and beverages and pharmaceuticals," he said.
The IPEC 2018 saw participation of politicians, entrepreneurs, businessmen and government officials from Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Iran, Oman, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Jordan and Pakistan.
QDB, which now has a capital base of QR10bn, play a big role in supporting the private sector ecosystem, he said, stressing on the importance of SMEs and their role in supporting and promoting the local economy.
QDB focuses on supporting the private sector in general and SMEs in particular, adding that the bank, in its engagement with SMEs, focused on key trends to support this sector and identified five main activities: access to information and training, access to finance, access to markets, the working environment and the legal framework for action.
Elaborating on its initiative 'Moushtrayat', an initiative that provides local SMEs access to large government projects, al-Khalifa said the first edition in 2016 saw 450 biz opportunities worth QR3bn, but only QR42mn was awarded to SMEs, which led QDB to "dig deeper to know why the SMEs were not able to get more."
In the subsequent version, there were more than 2,000 opportunities valued at QR2.5bn, of which QR700mn went for the SMEs and the third edition of 2018 saw more than 2,000 opportunities worth QR6.5bn.
Al-Khalifa stressed that Law No 24 of 2015 (a law regulating tenders and auctions), issued in December by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, allows QDB to exempt SMEs from prerequisites like advanced payment guarantees and bid bonds or performance bonds.
Moushtrayat creates a platform for matchmaking between SMEs and government and semi-government procurement requirements. Through this platform, QDB can explain the requirements and needs of these agencies, and match them with SMEs that can supply accordingly.
"We are encouraging SMEs to capitalise on the services provided by free economic zones and financial centre," he said, adding Qatar could also play a great role (in digitisation) and serve the neighbouring countries.
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