Reforms to attract international investors

 06 Dec 2017 - 11:11

Reforms to attract international investors
FROM LEFT: Charlie Corbett, Editorial Director Euromoney Conference; Dr Saad bin Ahmad Al Muhannadi, President, Ashghal; Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority; Rory Fyfe, Head of Economics at Qatar National Bank; and Gourang Hemani, Chief Financial Officer at Qatar Islamic Bank at the panel discussion during the Euromoney Qatar Conference in Ritz-Carlton Doha, yesterday. Pic: Baher Amin / The Peninsula

By Satish Kanady / The Peninsula

Top financial minds and economists have stressed the need for structural reforms in Qatari economy to accelerate foreign investments. Further liberalizing the economy and opening up critical sectors will help speed up the pace of diversification and investments in new sectors, they said.

Participating at a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the sixth edition of Euromoney Qatar Conference here yesterday, Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, CEO, Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority said the opening up of the country’s growth sectors like real estate would help attract foreign investments. There is a need to leverage the country’s public private partnerships (PPP) model as well, he said.

As Qatar looks to expand its economy via different revenue sources, the country needs to open up its economy for the next step to progress. Next year Qatar will see the implementation of VAT. This is just one new reform that will help drive new revenue and help the economy move away from being an oil and gas dependent economy, he said.

He reiterated the importance of expanding the use of modern technology, reducing corporate registration procedures, reducing the time used for audits and stimulating the business sector in line with developments.

Al Jaida said the government’s recent reforms were aimed to support the national economy. The radical reforms in the labour sector and the strengthening of workers’ rights have been positive for the national economy.

“The QFC is an important part of Qatar’s strategy to diversify its economy and we will continue to attract FDI by offering a competitive platform for businesses to expand to Qatar,”Al Jaida said.

Rory Fyfe, head of economics, Qatar National Bank (QNB), said ‘deregulation’ is key for Qatar’s future growth story. He said the role being played by SME sector in the local economy is still very small.

Dr Saad bin Ahmad Al Muhannadi, President, Ashghal; and Gourang Hemani, Chief Financial Officer, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) also participated in the panel discussion.

Earlier, addressing the conference, QNB Group Chief Executive Officer Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari (pictured) explained on the multi-billion-dollar investment projects in Qatar’s pipeline. The mega projects will provide opportunities for new investments at the medium and long term. “New investment sectors are opening up to support self-sufficiency, such as transport and logistics, to build on the increased activity at Hamad Port; food production; tourism; and Liquid Natural Gas, to support the proposed 30 percent in production,” he said.

The banking sector has weathered the blockade storm and managed to achieve an increase in profits, deposits and loans, in addition to the rise in the level of capital adequacy to record levels at 16.1 percent, which represents the highest global rates.

International perspectives on the world economy were provided by Hamish McRae, Principal Economic Commentator, The Independent Online, and Sarkis Yoghourtdjian, Advisor, Banking Supervision and Regulation, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

“The world economy will  keep growing, driven by population growth and technology transfer. However, the key to prosperity is driving technology forward – that is the challenge for the next generation,” said Hamish

McRae. “Within this region, there is significant opportunity to excel in the coming years. The challenge is to use its geographic position, huge natural resources, and the pool of spirited young people to create a great future for all.”Sarkis Yoghourtdjian discussed some of the challenges facing central banks in an era of uncertainty and instability.

More than 600 senior finance and banking executives attended the conference, where senior speakers addressed the opportunities and challenges facing national, regional and global economies today.