(MENAFN- The Peninsula) QNA
DOHA: President of the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA) H E Dr. Saleh bin Mohammed Al Nabit affirmed that Qatar is on the right path towards building a diversified and sustainable economy in order to achieve the goals and aspirations of Qatar National Vision 2030.
He said that the contribution of the non-oil sector to the real GDP amounted to more than 60 percent in the second quarter of this year, accompanied by the development of the economic and logistical infrastructure, as the implementation stages of the Hamad Port and Hamad International Airport were completed according to this plan, in addition to the development of commercial ports in the country's main cities and their services.
In an interview with QNA on the occasion of the preparations for the third National Development Strategy in cooperation with the relevant authorities, he said that the follow-up results of the implementation of the second National Development Strategy 2018-2022 indicate that there is a progress in implementing most of the strategy's initiatives and projects, with the pace of implementation different from one sector to another, from one goal to another, and from one project to another, especially in the field of economic diversification and the encouragement of the private sector, with a focus on priority economic sectors. He went to say that in general, all projects that included a digital transformation component have achieved further progress, driven by the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis and its restrictions, noting that a quantitative and qualitative development was monitored in government services provided to individuals and the business community. These accessibility services are enhanced through user-friendly apps, as the e-government services amounted to 1,200.
On Qatar's economic indicators for 2021 and the ability of the Qatari economy to cope with crises, including COVID-19 pandemic, he indicated that the measures to contain COVID-19 in 2020 cast a shadow over all economic activities, whether oil or non-oil activities, explaining that they were more severe on non-oil activities in terms of quantitative production, while oil activities were affected by value, which at the end of 2020 led to a decline in GDP by about 18 percent at current prices and 3.6 percent at constant prices.
However, he added, that with the improvement in oil and gas prices and the gradual cancellation of measures to contain COVID-19 during the first half of 2021, the GDP achieved a growth of 14.7 percent at current prices and about 1 percent at constant prices, expecting that this year would witness a growth ranging between 1 percent to 2 percent.
He also said that the activities of the manufacturing industry, of which a high percentage of its products are exported, were affected by the decline in oil and gas prices in terms of added value at current prices during 2020. However, Al Nabit pointed out that the performance level of these activities has improved in the first half of 2021, and is expected to achieve by the end of 2021 a growth rate ranges between 2 percent to 3.5 percent.
Regarding the added value of building and construction and the services sub-sectors which reflect the activity of the non-current internal economy, he said that they are expected to achieve growth between 1 to 2 percent for building and construction, while services can achieve a rate from 2.5 to 3.3 percent.
He also noted the measures and programmes adopted by the government to address the damages caused to small and medium-sized companies due to the repercussions of COVID-19, as the government established the National Guarantee Programme as part of the economic policy package to face the repercussions of COVID-19. He added that according to Qatar Development Bank (QDB)'s statement until April 2021, more than 4,000 private sector companies and establishments have benefited from this Programme, which employs more than 320,000 employees.
He said that in the near future, digitisation efforts may lead to raising the efficiency of resource use, expanding the use of financial and banking services, and increasing the productivity of small and medium enterprises, which in turn will raise their competitiveness in international markets, as well as increase transparency in the business environment.
To achieve this, the private sector is required to work alongside the government to continue investing in information technology and data infrastructure to facilitate the use of digitisation tools in education, health, commerce, production and supply chains, he added.
Regarding inflation, he explained that the Qatari economy, like other economies of the world, witnessed an inflation rate during the first ten months of 2021 with an average rate of 1.6 percent, a maximum of 4.3 percent and a minimum of negative 1.4 percent, adding that the inflation rate is expected to reach about 2 percent by the end of 2021 due to lucrative export revenues.
The President of PSA Dr. Saleh bin Mohammed Al Nabit (pictured) said that the trade balance continues to record positive values, explaining that when oil prices increase, it achieves greater returns, as the trade balance rate for the first three quarters of 2021 was about 54 percent compared to the total end of the year 2020, and compared to the same period in 2020, as it only amounted to 110 percent.
He said that these indicators give rise to optimism that the Qatari economy is strong, cohesive and able to absorb shocks and will be more resilient with a focus on economic diversification and the promotion of knowledge economy, because these are essential pillars for sustainable growth.
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