Qatar’s support for the growth of its bustling small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector is seen to play a significant role in the country’s transformation from a hydrocarbon-driven economy to a knowledge-based one, a Qatar Chamber official said.
The government has taken steps to diversify the economy, Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani told The Oil & Gas Year (TOGY) in its ‘The Oil & Gas Year Qatar 2019’ report.
“The Qatar National Vision 2030 stresses a diversified economy that gradually reduces its dependence on the hydrocarbons industry, enhances the role of the private sector, and maintains its competitiveness.
“To diversify the economy, Qatar has taken steps such as investing in foreign assets, introducing regulations to stimulate economic growth, establishing free zones, encouraging a knowledge-based economy, and promoting itself as a tourist destination leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” Sheikh Khalifa said in the report.
Asked what key measures the government is taking to develop the private sector, and how feasible is the goal of creating a knowledge-based economy to become self-sufficient, Sheikh Khalifa told TOGY that the government has let the private sector take the lead in driving economic development.
“Qatar has paved the way for the private sector to play a greater role in the national economy by adopting government-led initiatives to further develop the sector and increase its contribution to the national economy,” Sheikh Khalifa said.
He said HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani announced several regulations to help promote the private sector’s role in the economy upon the directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
“These included the reduction of rental value by 50% for all investors in the logistics areas of the Economic Zones Corporation in south Qatar during 2018 and 2019, as well as increase in the percentage of purchasing local products from 30% to 100% if the local product meets Qatari specifications and standards, as well as the financial facilitation provided by Qatar Development Bank (QDB),” he pointed out.
Sheikh Khalifa added: “The government’s clear support for SMEs will help turn Qatar from an oil-based economy into a knowledge-based one. The world over, SMEs are the backbone of economies.
“I strongly believe that these steps set us on the right track and further promote the private sector in the sustainable economy process. These measures will significantly open doors for establishing more high-tech firms and new knowledge-focused businesses.”