Companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) have strong capital and sound business module, which support them in mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Sheikh Hamad bin Mohamed al-Thani, senior vice president (Investment and Treasury), Qatar Insurance Company.
Moreover, the country's manufacturing sector, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), should rather pick up the slag in the medical industry through a target-oriented approach to reduce the dependence on imports, he told a webinar, organised by the QSE and moderated by Mohsin Mujtaba, director (Product and Market Development).
"I don't think that any of the listed companies have survival issues unlike many of the multinational companies elsewhere where they are headed towards bankruptcy," he said.
Most of them (the QSE-listed companies) are well capitalised and they have sound business modules, which have undergone stress tests over the past few years.
"They have been very resilient, so I don’t think long-term investors have anything to worry at all," he said, highlighting that the past two years had seen lower oil prices and government spending.
QSE chief executive Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori had told Gulf Times that the country's financial package for the private sector to mitigate the challenges of the pandemic had enhanced investors' confidence.
Bassam Slim, portfolio manager, Aventicum, said the government has already announced stimulus measures on monetary and fiscal policy fronts, which should "cushion" the impact of Covid-19.
This is the third time Qatar is facing a crisis in the last five year since the global oil price crisis in 2014-15 and then the blockade from 2017, which specifically helped the country to be more resilient and diversified in its supply chain.
Sheikh Hamad said one real opportunity in terms of supply chain is on the domestic manufacturing, as he highlighted how Qatar went on overdrive in the food sector, especially after the blockade.
Referring to domestic entities producing hand sanitisers as well as recently Barzan getting into the manufacturing of ventilators; he said the growing medical industry has the potential to grow the private sector for which there should be target-based approach.
In order to encourage the healthcare market, he said there should be a policy of delineating a certain proportion of domestic production, a level that could be scaled up with the progression in the sector. Moreover, supermarkets should reserve certain proportion of their shelf space for the local products.
Stressing that the medical sector should encourage greenfield players rather than large corporates or semi-governmental institutions; he said "the SMEs, partnered with government capital provided by Qatar Development Bank, should really move to pick up the slack and grow the private sector and provide these essential goods in order to reduce reliance on imports."