‘32,000 companies established since siege’
May 29 2019 11:56 PM
Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani
Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani

Some 32,000 new companies have been established in Qatar since the unjust blockade was enforced two years ago, Qatar Chamber (QC) chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani said on Wednesday.

This marked an increase of around 34% over the previous two years, when 24,000 new firms were set up in the country, he informed.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sheikh Khalifa stressed that the local private sector "proved its great ability in dealing with big challenges, as they adapted quickly to the blockade, in no small part thanks to the rapid steps adopted by the government", the official Qatar News Agency reported.

The year 2017 saw the formation of 15,000 companies, with the number increasing to 17,000 in 2018. The new companies were established in a variety of sectors, such as agriculture, transport and manufacturing. The years 2016 and 2015 saw the formation of 13,000 and 11,000 companies, respectively.

The QC chairman said a number of factors helped the country defeat the blockade, including the economic and legislative environment, sound strategic plans as well as co-operation among all bodies, and trade relations with friendly countries. He noted that the blockade had no impact on Qatar's economy, affirming that the shock factor of the blockade was swiftly absorbed thanks to co-operation among all actors as well as the resilience of the economy.

Sheikh Khalifa said the number of factories increased by around 17% to reach 823 in 2019, compared to 707 factories in 2016 - as 116 new factories were established. The number of permits for establishing factories reached 613 with total investments of QR34bn, compared to 466 permits in 2016 with investments of QR31bn.

The QC chairman said all these achievements were a result of the blockade, as it allowed the establishment of factories with no restrictions. Previously, the principles of GCC economic integration prevented a country from expanding in a certain industry if it was already existing in one of the GCC member-countries.

Further, he stressed that the blockade provided a strong impetus towards achieving many significant accomplishments, including accelerating the country's economic strategies, expanding agricultural and industrial projects, increasing outward investments, promoting local investment and attracting more foreign investments to the local market. It also included providing more incentives to the private sector for promoting local industries, increasing production, enhancing relations with friendly countries and activating trade with countries around the world.

Highlighting the chamber's role during the blockade, he said it had sought - since the beginning of the blockade - to remove all obstacles faced by the private sector. This was achieved through the co-operation relations it has with related entities in the State and other chambers around the world.

Sheikh Khalifa said QC urged merchants and businessmen, from the first day of the blockade, to urgently find alternative means to import goods, especially food. The chamber also co-ordinated with various government agencies concerned to form specialised committees to address all obstacles and ensure the continued flow of goods from abroad without interruption, and also launched several initiatives to support national products.

During the blockade, QC has held meetings with more than 200 trade delegations to discuss mutual investment opportunities and the possibility of establishing economic partnerships and alliances in light of the incentives, facilities and benefits for investment proposed by Qatar and the governments of those countries.

Sheikh Khalifa affirmed the role played by the chamber as an important part of the self-sufficiency strategy, noting that the private sector proved it was a real partner in the economic process.

The private sector has become an active partner in the overall development process, especially in light of the considerable confidence and concrete support of the government for this sector, which has enabled it to contribute strongly to food security projects and meet the needs of the local market for food products, especially poultry and milk.

He said Qatar's non-oil exports increased by 35.1% in 2018 according to certificates of origin issued by Qatar Chamber. The total value of these exports amounted to QR24.4bn compared to QR18.05bn in 2017.



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