As many as 47,000 new companies have been established in Qatar since the economic blockade was imposed on Qatar in June 2017, Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani has said.
According to Sheikh Khalifa, Qatar witnessed robust growth in foreign investment since the siege, “especially in the light of legislations and incentives offered by the State of Qatar.”
Sheikh Khalifa stressed that the Qatari private sector played a vital role in overcoming the impact of the blockade, and it managed to emerge as a real partner of the public sector towards economic development.
“The private sector succeeded in avoiding the disruption of goods that were imported from siege countries by securing the necessary needs of the local market and developing the industrial sector, which has witnessed a steady growth in the number of factories and increase in the productive capacity of existing factories,” Sheikh Khalifa said.
Regarding the industrial sector, Sheikh Khalifa said the blockade helped in accelerating Qatar’s goal of encouraging the local industry and facilitating procedures for new industries.
About 1,464 operating and licensed industrial establishments were registered by the end of 2019 in all industrial sectors, compared to the 1,171 recorded by the end of 2016, figures from Qatar Chamber showed.
“This led to the establishment of 293 new factories during the siege years, including 162 factories in the first year of siege in 2017, 72 factories in the second year, and 59 factories in 2019,” Sheikh Khalifa noted.
Sheikh Khalifa also noted that the siege period saw a surge in exports of the private sector and the expanded reach of local products to many foreign markets. He said some of the factors that helped defeat the siege include Qatar’s economic and legislative environment, sound strategic plans, co-operation among private and public sector organisations, and healthy trade relations with many countries.
“The blockade provided Qatari businessmen a strong impetus to expand their commercial activities and invest in new industries. The siege urged concerned bodies to accelerate the country’s economic strategies, expand agricultural and industrial projects, increase outward investments, promote local investment, and attract 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,” he said.
Sheikh Khalifa stressed that the chamber had sought, since the beginning of the blockade, to remove all obstacles faced by the private sector. He said the chamber urged merchants and businessmen to urgently find alternative means to import goods.
The chamber also co-ordinated with various government agencies to form specialised committees with other organisations to streamline procedures for the private sector in importing goods, as well as provide support for national production.
During the siege, Qatar Chamber hosted more than 250 foreign trade delegations with Qatari businessmen to discuss mutual investment opportunities and the possibility of establishing commercial partnerships and alliances in light of the incentives, facilities, and benefits for investment proposed by Qatar and other countries.
Sheikh Khalifa said the chamber’s sectorial committees played a key role during the siege by conducting seminars to help businessmen find solutions to obstacles, as well as distributing questionnaires to help determine damages incurred by companies operating in the country.