(MENAFN- The Peninsula) By Mohammad Shoeb / The Peninsula
DOHA: Qatari economy has not only successfully weathered the impact of the unjust blockade by Arab-quartet, but it has also grown stronger, vibrant and more diversified than it was before the siege, said the Chairman of Qatar Chamber, Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani (pictured).
The economy, especially in terms of diversification, food security and economic sovereignty, has witnessed incredible improvements over the last one year as a result of several important initiatives on the part of government and the private sector.
Economic liberalisation, business-friendly environment coupled with reforms in tax and labour laws has made the economy more robust. The concerted efforts on the part of various government agencies and the private sector collectively helped defying the impact of the unjust siege and offered businesses and consumers more freedom and better choices for goods as well as prices.
'Today we are in a much better off compared to the position we were before the blockade. The Qatari market is more open. We see more varieties of goods in the local market coming from different parts of the world that too at more competitive and affordable prices, Sheikh Khalifa told The Peninsula.
Sheikh Khalifa added: 'We transformed the crisis into opportunities. The Qatari economy is now more diversified. The gap in the market is filled by local producers and goods from other countries. Qatar's gross domestic product (GDP), international trade (both imports and exports), and other macroeconomic fundamentals are growing steadily, which speak volume about the robustness of the economy.
He also anticipated that if the rebound in energy prices get stabilised at this level, the government will have more revenues to invest in public projects and the social sector, which will further accelerate the pace of economic growth.
Commenting on the recently announced economic reforms, especially with regard to FDI, the Chairman of QC, noted: 'Qatar has been an open economy before also. Every few years we see needful revision in laws. The new laws will attract more investments in the country. However, we would like to see more investments in the field of healthcare, education and industrial sector.
With regard to public-private partnership (PPP) taken immediately after the siege, he said that many initiatives were taken on PPP model which include projects in the food and agriculture, building materials and the construction sector. The main focus was for goods that were needed in the market immediately.
'In addition, there are projects in many other sectors which need time to establish. However, the private sector moved immediately and covered all the gaps in the market that were created as a result of the abrupt blockade, Sheikh Khalifa added. 'You will see more products hitting the market by the end of 2018.
Asked about government's recent decision to withdraw products from the siege countires, he said that the government did the right thing. It was a well thought of decision.
The traders and retailers were informed much in advance in December to clear their stocks. 'They were given enough time. As our products are not allowed to enter the blockading countries then what do you expect us to do, questioned the Chairman of the QC.
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