Investors from siege nations seek openings in Qatar
07 Aug 2017 – 3:48
By Huda NV / The Peninsula
As Saudi led blockade on Qatar goes beyond 60 days, many entrepreneurs from blockading countries are keen on not missing out on opportunities in Qatar. A recent call for investments in Qatar saw wide response from investors based in these countries. “Own Your Factory in Qatar” initiative, by the Single Window project had called for investors in some 250 opportunity in June. When the registrations concluded on July 19, some 9,349 applications were received, of which some 87 percent were from Qatar.
However, at least 41 of the investors who registered were from Egypt, while some 24 were from Saudi Arabia. Also 15 investors who registered were from UAE. This was revealed at a media briefing on the sidelines of an investor meet held as part of the initiative. The initiative is the second phase of the Single Window project aimed at providing facilities for industrial investments in Qatar. It assures all approvals, and industrial and environmental licenses within 72 hours of application, in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.
Single Window project aims to eliminate any hassles the investors face in Qatar. Though the initiative was started much before the blockade, the current situation has propelled activation of the programme much faster, according to an official Single Window. “The initiative is aimed at developing local manufacturing products needed here. We are now in a situation where some of our products are being imported from the neighbouring countries. We have listed these items and have prioritised 100 of these items that we need to start manufacturing locally,” the official added.
Reinforcing Qatar’s position as an investment destination, the Single Window project that aims to facilitate the process of licensing businesses, received an overwhelming response for its “Own Your Factory in Qatar” initiative.
In less than a month’s time, more than 9,300 applicants from some 50 countries round the globe have registered for some 250 investment opportunities of the initiative. The initiative covers eight main sectors as metal industry; food; medical; paper; chemicals; equipment and vehicles; electrical; and rubber and plastic industry.
“The initiative gives investors many privileges such as issuance of business licenses and land facilities within 72 hours. It also facilitates instant visas for employees, ready infrastructure including water, electricity and road facilties,” said Salaman M Kaldari, Chairman- Coordination Committee, Single Window.
“Moreover, these local products would be given priority in the local market, 10 percent reservation on government purchases and; support and promotion when exporting the products. These investment projects will be exempt from income tax for 10 years and there will be an exemption from customs duty for raw material imports,” he told the media, at the sidelines of an investor briefing event here, yesterday.
Al Kaldari stressed that the investment call made as part of “Own Your Factory in Qatar,” witnessed a huge response from the investors. Of a total 9,349 registrations for investments made, 8,128 were from within the country while 82 were from US and, 68 from both Kuwait and Turkey. Others include 41 investors from Egypt, France (37), Jordan (30), Tunisia (23), Saudi Arabia (24), India (21), Lebanon (17) and UAE (15), among the others.
Sector wise breakdown shows that 34 percent of the investors, accounting for 3,168 applicants were keen on investing in Qatar’s food sector. Others include 1,334 investors in metal industry sector, paper (1086), plastic( 941), chemical (826), electrical (732), medical (710) and equipment sector received 552 investor applications.
However, the officials stressed that the investors will be shortlisted based on their technical knowhow in a particular sector and the financial evaluation, rather than nationality. The awarded investors will be announced in September.
“With these facilities, market demand and government support, this is the best time to invest in Qatar,” said Ahmed Al Yafai, who had registered for opening a plastic waste to plumbing material recycling firm.
In some of the sectors, non-Qatari investors can have more than 49 percent of the ownership. While applicants who do not need assistance for land and finance, can get business licences in 72 days, others will be given licences after a feasibility study. Lands will be awarded in Um Alhoul SEZ or Industrial Area, according to the facility needed. Plots will be leased for some 25 years at very low rates.
The initiative is being operated by the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Energy and Industry, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, Qatar Development Bank, Manateq and Qatar Chamber.