Business establishments in Qatar are generally optimistic about the future in terms of the general working conditions in the country, as local markets have “improved dramatically” after being able to reach new markets and suppliers, the findings of a new study on the impact of the blockade reveal.
Qatar University (QU), represented by the Social and Economic Research Institute (Sesri) and the College of Business and Economics (CBE), in collaboration with the Qatar Finance and Business Academy (QFBA), conducted the study, titled ‘Blockade on Business: A Survey of Qatar’s Financial and Industrial Firms’.
The study focused on the industrial and financial sectors, using the highest scientific research methodology, to identify the initial and ongoing effects of the blockade on the functioning of the companies as well as their outlook for the future.
“Qatar’s economy has performed remarkably well despite the challenges of the blockade. However, more information is needed to view how the embargo has affected Qatar’s business community, how firms have navigated these challenges, and what policymakers can do to help firms to succeed,” QU said in a statement yesterday.
The goal of the study is to obtain firm-level assessments of Qatar’s business environment, employment and labour markets, trade and logistics, and finance and investment conditions. The results will facilitate economic analysis that will inform key decision makers as they develop policies to support Qatar’s industrial and financial sectors.
This study will provide a baseline data for what could, in the future, become a regular survey to track firms’ views over time, the statement noted.
The Sesri event where QU representatives announced the results of the study was attended by Qatar University president Dr Hassan al-Derham and QFBA CEO Dr Khalid al-Horr.
Sesri director Dr Hassan Abdulrahim al-Sayed spoke at the event and emphasised the importance of the study in forming a comprehensive picture about the effects of the blockade on the economic sector.
Manager of the Policy Department at Sesri, Dr Majed Mohamed al-Ansari, gave a presentation, which included a set of recommendations for decision makers.
Al-Ansari said the results showed that in terms of general working conditions in Qatar, companies are generally positive and optimistic about the future, as local markets have “improved dramatically” and been able to reach new markets and suppliers. However, some companies have lost business due to the blockade, it was observed.
The opinion of financial companies was more positive about the impact of the blockade than industrial companies, with 69% of financial companies stating that the impact of the blockade on business revenues was “neutral” and, conversely, only 22% of industrial companies said their revenues remained the same as before the blockade, the study showed.
In addition, 46% of companies in the industrial sector reported an increase in demand for their products, with the exception of the construction sector, where demand remained low.
Looking at the supply chains and the import and export capacity of Qatar, companies experienced some difficulties; however, 63% of companies reported being able to find alternative countries in a very short period of time (less than five months).
In addition, al-Ansari said policymakers should look at success stories as well as challenges, building on the strengths and creativity of Qatar’s business community. They should continue to look for ways to enhance business flexibility to access import sources and export destinations.
The government should also encourage an effective response to future dialogue between the business community, it is suggested.
Finally, it is recommended to investigate the reasons why industrial companies and financial companies differ in their perception of the financial circumstances in the country.
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