The economic blockade has helped Qatar in managing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, said a business council official, who stressed that since 2017 the country was well-prepared in dealing with different types of crises.
According to Qatar-Indonesia Business Council (QIBC) president Farhan al-Sayed, the challenges that both the private and the government sectors experienced when four Arab countries cut diplomatic and economic ties with the country more than two years ago “had equipped Qatar with the necessary tools to become a self-sufficient nation.”
Al-Sayed recalled that shortly after the blockade, government ministries and private sector organisations like Qatar Chamber and the Qatar Development Bank (QDB) mobilised initiatives that would help cushion the blockade’s impact on the economy.
Similarly, major hypermarkets and groceries tapped alternative suppliers and other sources from other countries to fill store shelves with the necessary food and non-food items, preventing a shortage of supplies needed by Qatari citizens and the larger expatriate communities.
Al-Sayed also said the blockade paved the way for legal and economic reforms implemented by the government. These reforms and policies were aimed at attracting more foreign direct investments and to transform Qatar into a self-sufficient country, among other objectives.
“This health pandemic has tossed the entire world in a state of panic and confusion and Qatar was not spared from the negative impact. However, this was short-lived because the country is prepared. While there was a sudden rush of people at hypermarkets earlier this month, store shelves were full the next day. Today, they are always full.
“And it only took a short period for these establishments to replenish their stocks. In some countries, there is still panic buying; once the shelves are refilled, people start hoarding groceries forcing some establishments to ration the supplies. This is not happening in Qatar,” al-Sayed told Gulf Times Monday.
The QIBC official also lauded the government for its efforts to contain and prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
“The directives issued by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to address the Covid-19 issue are very much commendable and praiseworthy. Looking back at the blockade, it helped the government prepare for any type of crises in the future.
“We learned that we have to be ready at all times. This is why the country had established state-of-the-art storage and logistics facilities. Now the supermarkets are well stocked. All these are some of the signs that Qatar is prepared,” al-Sayed stressed.