Satyendra Pathak
Minister of Finance HE Ali Shareef al Emadi on Monday revealed that Qatar achieved budget surplus in the first nine months of 2018 for the first time in two years.
Given moderate oil prices and lower expenditure, Emadi said, he expected the 2019 budget to have a surplus.
Participating in a panel discussion on ‘Qatar’s Sustainable Economic Growth in Cooperation with its Trade Partners’ at the International Products Exhibition and Conference in Doha, Emadi said Qatar’s economy is robust despite the ongoing economic blockade.
Emadi said that spending in general, especially in the health, education and infrastructure projects will see an increase in the next year’s budget.”The budget of Qatar, which began on the first of January 2018, set the price of a barrel of oil at $45, while prices have now exceeded the level of $80 a barrel,” he said.
Emadi said that growth in Qatar is largely driven by 4 percent growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector.
The contribution of privet sector to Qatar’s economy has exceeded official expectations, he said adding that it is expected to continue.
The finance minister pointed out that Qatar is working on the development of legislation to stimulate investment, and has signed trade exchange agreements with more than 100 countries, and other agreements to prevent double taxation with more than 70 countries.
He said that aim of IPEC was to support the Qatari private sector and increase trade exchange among the 11 participating countries.
During his participation in a panel entitled”Qatar’s Sustainable Economic Growth in Cooperation with its Trade Partners” at the International Products Exhibition and Conference 2018
Minister of Economy and Commerce HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed al Thani, who also participated in the discussion, said the very first edition of IPEC has attracted a wide audience from a number of states, which reflects the strength of Qatar’s friendly relations with participating countries and the important role that this international economic gathering plays in the region.
Participating countries represent a market of 400 million people with significant purchasing power, he said adding these countries have traded goods and services worth over $1 trillion with the rest of the world.’
Participating countries have exported goods worth over $430 billion, while total imports amounted to $540 billion, he said noting that the total trade volume between Qatar and these countries is estimated at $5.5 billion.
He said that Qatar and participating countries are bound by agreements concluded within the framework of the GCC and the Arab League within the framework of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area.
Touching on key economic indicators, he said Qatar’s foreign trade has shown remarkable growth of 16 percent in the post-blockade period of 2017 while total exports increased by 18 percent resulting in a surplus of 49 percent in the trade balance.
He added that the non-oil sector’s contribution to Qatar’s GDP also reached 52 percent in 2017.
Qatar is an active partner in global trade and a key regional and global economic player, he said adding the state is seeking to promote sustainable development that will benefit both Qatar and its partners on the economic level.
“Qatar is also home to an investment and business-friendly environment, which allows foreign investors up to 100 percent ownership in numerous projects and permits non-Qataris to engage in trade activities,” he said.
Participating in the discussion, Turkish Deputy Minister of Trade Gonca Yilmaz Batur said the trade exchange between Ankara and Doha is expected to reach about QR2 billion by the end of this year, up from about $1.5 billion in the first eight months of 2018.
Praising the strategic ties between the two countries, Batur said Qatar’s announcement to invest $15 billion in Turkish economy was a vital support.
Tajikistan Minister of Economic Development and Trade Nematullo Khikmatullozoda said Qatar should take advantage of investment opportunities in the areas of agriculture and mines in Tajikistan.
Tunisian Commerce Minister Omar Bahi highlighted the significant rise in trade volume between Tunisia and Qatar in the recent past.