07 Jun 2018 – 11:04
Doha: Qatar’s achievements during the past period are the best proof of the failure of the unjust siege which only further consolidated people rallying behind leadership and deepened faith in the capabilities of Qatar and its citizens, said Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani (pictured). The Minister said that a number of legislations are currently under way to support the private sector, including the public-private partnership law.
Talking to Qatar News Agency on one year of unjust siege on Qatar, the Minister said the entire world acknowledged the strength, determination and will of Qatar and its victory in the battle of steadfastness and pride it has fought since June 5, 2017 against all attempts to intervene in its affairs and violate its sovereignty and national and economic independence. He added that Qatar is witnessing the beginning of a bright future stage which its prospects are drawn by Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and guided by his able directives for building the country’s economic independence, protecting its national security and enhancing its bilateral relations with all countries of the world.
Since the early hours of the siege, various state bodies have been implementing a pre-emptive plan that has been in place for many years in anticipation of any regional or global economic crises, the Minister of Economy and Commerce pointed out. He added that the plan aims at ensuring the continuous flow of goods, services and food products to all citizens and residents without interruption.
He pointed out that the Ministry of Economy and Commerce was keen to activate the institutional work and develop mechanisms of joint coordination with all concerned parties in order to unite efforts to achieve the goals of the proactive plan through several stages, including: diversification of sources of imports of products and food commodities and activating partnerships and strategic agreements concluded by Qatar with various countries of the world in order to meet all requirements and needs of the local market since the first day of the blockade. It was keen as well to provide logistical support services for the supply of foodstuffs and goods and support shipments and distribution to all commercial outlets of the state, tighten field control and market inspection campaigns to protect consumer rights, prevent fraud and monopoly practices, and control the prices and quality of goods in the market, he said.
The phases also included strengthening the State strategic stock of commodities and logistics by launching initiatives aimed at enhancing the State of Qatar’s drive towards self-sufficiency in commodities and foodstuffs in partnership with the private sector along supporting community awareness and outreach efforts. The Ministry of Economy and Commerce sent messages to reassure consumers on the availability of goods in the market as well as to highlight the importance of reading food data on imported products.
He pointed to the Ministry’s keenness to establish the executive frameworks for the “National Product” initiative, which is one of the Ministry’s efforts to support the marketing of products of national companies and stimulate them to produce. He also referred to government efforts in providing the legislative framework supporting national products and protecting them in the local market as it approved a draft law on the protection of national products and the control of harmful practices in international trade.
The Minister said that a number of legislations are currently under way to support the private sector, including the public-private partnership law, stressing that the State has paid great attention to investors, small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs through facilitating laws organizing the establishment of business
Regarding national economic growth indicators, the Minister stressed on the success of the economic policies adopted by the State at the local and international levels, pointing out that Qatar maintained balanced growth rates despite the siege. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by about $222bn in 2017 compared with $218bn in 2016, an annual growth rate of 1.6 percent, he said.
He stressed on the optimism and confidence of the international rating agencies in Qatar’s economic growth compared to the rest of the countries of the region, pointing out that the GDP is expected to grow by 2.8 percent in 2018 and by an average of 3 percent in the period between 2019-2020, according to the World Bank in its economic outlook report issued in April 2018.
The Minister pointed out that the levels of confidence among the business community in Qatar have remarkably increased. The results of the third quarter of 2017 indicated that 40.7 percent of the economic establishments in Qatar have future plans to expand the production capacity of their business, he said, adding that the efforts exerted by the State to support the sector brought positive impact. He pointed out that the number of new companies registered following the imposition of the unjust siege on Qatar grew significantly, with more than 22,111 new companies registered between the period from June 2017 and April 2018. The total number of commercial registrations grew by 22 percent after the siege. Touching on the success of Qatar’s economic policies at the external level, he stressed that foreign trade increased by 16 percent by the end of 2017 to reach $103bn compared with $89bn in 2016. Qatar’s exports increased by 18 percent to $67bn in 2017 compared with $57bn in 2016.
The reports praised Qatar’s economic policies which prevented it from being affected by the current crisis, he said, noting that the country advanced three points in one year on the index of the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2018 (IMD) to occupy the 14th place in the rankings this year.