*QR263bn invested in industrial sector in 2020
Qatar’s economic diversification policy, stimulus provided to the private sector, developing national industries and exports, and attracting investment in non-oil sectors helped the country tackle challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari said on Thursday.
Delivering a lecture titled “The national economy and its role in supporting defence efforts” at the Joaan bin Jassim Joint Command and Staff College al-Kuwari said the total volume of investments in the industrial sector in 2020 amounted to approximately QR263bn.
The lecture was attended by HE Lt General (Pilot) Ghanem bin Shaheen al-Ghanim, Chief of Staff of the Qatari Armed Forces, and a number of Qatar Armed Forces officers and senior employees from various ministries and institutions taking part in the National Defense Course.
Al-Kuwari affirmed that the directives of the wise leadership of the country contributed to laying down the main pillars that define the priorities and future prospects supporting the national economy, indicating that Qatar has succeeded in continuing to implement its economic policies despite the geopolitical changes.
The minister touched upon several topics, including the challenges that the country has witnessed during the past years, including the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the efforts made to achieve a comprehensive revival.
In this regard, he referred to steps taken by Qatar, such as adopting an economic diversification policy, stimulating the participation and role of the private sector, developing national industries and exports, and attracting investment in non-oil sectors, which represented more than 62% of gross product at constant prices for the second quarter of 2020.
Regarding the measures taken to confront the repercussions of the pandemic, al-Kuwari noted Qatar had succeeded, in light of the current exceptional circumstances, in dealing with the consequences of the crisis and taking effective and efficient measures that have contributed to reducing its negative impact on the social and economic levels.
Qatar has worked to enhance the flow of commodities and support maintaining regular supply operations by strengthening its cooperation with countries and trade partners, providing raw materials for various industrial sectors as well as adopting a series of economic measures and incentives, which have contributed to protecting the private sector and enhancing companies’ ability to adapt to the current economic situation and to pay their employees.
The minister shed light on the legislation put in place by Qatar to attract and encourage investment, including the law regulating the Public-Private Partnership, which contributed to enhancing investment prospects in the country and providing the appropriate legislative framework to improve governance, risk management, and enhance competition and innovation.
This law provided investors with the opportunity to finance, develop, and operate projects in a variety of priority sectors, including food security, sports, tourism, health, education, and logistics.
In this regard, al-Kuwari spoke about the recent signing of the government schools package contract (establishing eight schools), and launching the tourist resorts project, spanning an area exceeding 450,000sqm.
Al-Kuwari touched on the most prominent features of the law regulating the investment of non-Qatari capital in economic activity, and the initiative to establish the Investment Promotion Agency.
In the field of developing the business environment, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has been keen to complete the digital transformation process and improve government services provided to speed up procedures.
Electronic services provided by the Ministry have been developed through its website, mobile application, and the Single Window platform, which in turn, provides a number of vital services such as establishing businesses and factories, issuing tax cards as well as the electronic signature system.
Electronic procedures made through the ‘Single Window’ platform witnessed a 56% growth in 2020, compared to 2019, and the percentage of digital transformation amounted to 62%, an increase of 22% compared to 2019.
On the initiatives aimed at establishing integrated mechanisms to enhance and increase Qatar’s strategic stock, the minister referred to Law No. (24) of 2019 on Regulating and Managing the Strategic Stock of Food and Consumer Goods, aimed at regulating dealing in basic commodities, and establishing a system for managing and monitoring production, import, supply, circulation, and storage.
At the level of industrial development, al-Kuwari pointed out that the industrial sector had witnessed remarkable growth in conjunction with the progress made in the projects of developing the SMEs industrial zone.
The total number of factories in Qatar in 2020 amounted to 927, registering a 6% increase compared to 2019.
Additionally, the total volume of investments in the industrial sector in 2020 amounted to approximately QR263bn, a growth rate of 0.4% compared to 2019.
At the end of the lecture, HE the Major General Fahd bin Mubarak al-Khayarin, Commander of Joaan bin Jassim Joint Command and Staff College, presented al-Kuwari with the college’s memorial shield.