Doha’s excellent handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has made the business ecosystem further lucrative with new avenues of investments opening up for investors, according to the top official of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).
“We have seen increasing level of interests from foreign investors looking to enter market that offer diverse opportunities with low levels of unforeseen risks,” QFC Authority chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida told a webinar on ‘Strategic Risk Management – Factors to Consider When Investing in and out of Qatar’.
Having absorbed several shocks, including a series of fluctuations in global oil prices over the past decade and the ongoing pandemic; he said the country’s institutions have become “resilient” to “guarantee” conducive environment for the business growth.
In this regard, he cited that several global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have projected Qatar's real gross domestic product (GDP) to bounce back.
In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF said Qatar’s real GDP has been projected to rebound and grow at 2.5% in both 2021 and 2022 compared to a -4.5% change this year.
Qatar’s real GDP growth will turn positive again in 2021 as energy prices stabilise at around $42 a barrel, global liquefied natural gas demand picks up, and non-energy economic sentiment improves once the pandemic is controlled, the World Bank said in its latest country outlook.
Over the medium term, growth will reach around 3% by 2022 from "delivery and legacy" investments for the FIFA World Cup, it had said.
Highlighting the investor-friendly climate in the country; al-Jaida said the inward investments into Qatar have been growing exponentially over the past few years, despite the challenges.
“This has been enabled by the unparalleled business infrastructure that has been offered to investors,” he said, adding various incentives, coupled with the continued reforms in the legal, regulatory and tax framework, have been fuelling this growth.
In this regard, al-Jaida specifically mentioned the new PPP (pubic private partnership) law and the recent investment laws that offered 100% ownership in all the sectors.
On May 31, His Highness the Amir issued Law No 12 of 2020 regulating the partnerships between the public and private sectors, sending a positive signal to international sponsors and lenders.
The QFC is a good example of State endeavours to help potential investors easily set up operations in the country and thus expand into the wider region with minimal risks, al-Jaida said.
“The international investors have been very receptive of our infrastructure” and over the past few years, more than 900 companies, across various sectors, are already registered in its platform, he said, highlighting that the QFC infrastructure allows the companies to enjoy competitive benefits.
These include 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, 10% corporate tax on locally sourced profits, and an extensive double taxation treaty network with over 80 countries, a legal environment based on English common law and the right to trade in any currency.