DOHA: Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said yesterday that the Qatari economy has proved its strength and robustness in facing the challenges of the unjust siege imposed on Qatar.
“The economy also proved its capability to handle and overcome all the effects of the siege with the support of the systematic economical and commercial policies planned by the wise leadership,” he added.
Speaking at the Advisory Council regular weekly session, the Minister said the State of Qatar succeeded in overcoming the effects of the treacherous and arbitrary measures of the siege countries in full, within 36 hours in a precedent, the first of its kind in the world.
The Economy and Commerce Minister said the siege imposed since June 5, 2017 is a new phase in consolidating the strength of the State of Qatar, and promoting its independence and economic security.
“Qatar has overcome various challenges of supply to the domestic market and the movement of ports and airports by strengthening existing business lines and developing new and direct lines with a number of strategic trading partners around the world, benefiting from the strategic facilities of the country such as Hamad Port and Hamad International Airport,” he added.
He added that thanks to these major logistic capacities which were built around the clock, Qatar’s foodstuffs and live animals imports increased by 29.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, in comparison to the same period in 2016, while food and beverages imports during the mentioned period increased by 28.7 percent.
The Minister reminded the attendees of Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s affirmations that the State of Qatar will not be the same after June 5, adding that Qatar’s achievements during the period following the siege proved unequivocal evidence of the failure of the arbitrary measures of the siege countries, which only succeeded at strengthening Qatar’s faith in its citizens’ capabilities.
The Minister of Economy and Commerce, H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani revealed a few statistics that proves the status and robustness of the Qatari economy on a world trade level including, the oil exports which rose by 25.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, whereas the contribution of the oil and gas sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) during the year 2017 was 48 percent, at constant prices.
The Minister highlighted the many projects that have launched in this sector and gained great interest from businessmen and investors, such as the project of offering investment opportunities for the development and operation of private schools and hospitals, economic and logistic zones, as well as a number of promising tourism projects, in addition to introducing aquaculture projects, and actual production of fodder projects for the local market, he added.
“The Ministry of Economy and Commerce is working on a number of legislative amendments, around 18 different legislative instruments, including new and specialized legislations such as the public-private partnership law, the state strategic stock law, the national product protection law, and the unified economic registry law and brokerage law, in addition to key amendments to the law on non-Qatari capital investment in economic activity and the laws on business environment business enterprises,” he said.
He said that to further complement those measures, the State is working to enhance the contribution of non-oil sectors to GDP, which reached about 52 percent last year. With regard to foreign trade, he said the indicators showed that the country’s foreign trade increased by 16 percent last year to reach $103bn compared with $89bn in 2016. Country’s exports saw a remarkable rise of 19 percent, registering $68bn last year compared with $57bn in 2016.
The state’s trade balance had a 40 percent surplus in 2017, rising from $25bn in 2016 to $35bn last year, he said.
“At the macro-economic level, the country’s GDP increased last year to $220bn, compared with $218bn in 2016, about 2 percent in constant prices,” he said, pointing out that this was an evidence that the unjust siege has not affected our national economy, but has increased our resolve and determination to achieve economic growth and stability.
The Minister of Economy and Commerce stated that these indicators reflected positively on the position of the State of Qatar in many global reports, referring in this context to the World Bank’s expectation that our national economy would grow 2.6 percent this year.
He added that the announced increase in the production capacity of liquefied gas, which represents a positive motive for our national economy is expected to raise the economic growth to about 8.2 percent in 2024.
Qatar’s political and economic fundamentals and choices have played an important role in enhancing the confidence of the business community in the national economy, the Minister said, adding that Qatar is now one of the most important countries in the region to invest in and it offers huge investment opportunities not only in food security but also in the logistics, sports, tourism, health and other vital sectors.
He pointed to the provision of logistical support services for the supply operations both in the exporting countries or in transport, loading, unloading, warehousing and distribution operations at all commercial outlets of the State, including small grocery stores and strengthening field control of markets around the clock to prevent any monopolistic practices and supervise the quality and prices of goods offered.