Qatar on Thursday announced a major expansion of the economic zone for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by developing an additional area of 825,000sq m and providing the necessary infrastructure and basic services for industrial projects.
Addressing a meeting organised by the Ministry of Energy and Industry at the Sheraton, HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada said the expansion would be completed in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019.
With this, the total area of economic zones will exceed 11mn sq m, al-Sada said at the event, which was attended among other dignitaries by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.
Some 45 owners of manufacturing facilities that have enhanced their production following a blockade imposed on Qatar were honoured at the event.
“Today’s ceremony is patronised by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani not only for recognising these business owners who have increased production but also for promoting the ‘Made in Qatar’ initiative,” al-Sada said.
He said within a year of the “unjust blockade”, 98 manufacturing facilities commenced actual production. This is in comparison with 55 in the year before.
With this, he said, the total number of manufacturing facilities operating in Qatar has reached 812.
Following the blockade, the minister noted that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani had issued “very clear and decisive” directives, aimed at enhancing the capabilities and competence of Qatar’s industry, SMEs in particular.
The Amir issued directives to further develop new industrial zones and provide all necessary facilities to the private sector with the aim of creating self-sufficiency and boosting the national economy.
“In a spirit of patriotism and utmost responsibility, many business owners either opened new manufacturing units or scaled up production in line with the needs of various sectors of the national economy," al-Sada said.
“What we have seen following this is truly admirable and very encouraging; these manufacturing facilities totally replaced goods and products from the siege countries that have become unavailable in the local market. On top of that, we now have better quality and competitively priced products in the local market.”
The Minister said the government laid significant emphasis on enhancing the role of the private sector in national economic development.
“Our goal is to increase the private sector output as a percentage of the national GDP. Your enhanced activities will bring better prosperity for our country,” al-Sada said.
He assured the private sector in general and the businesses in particular that the government’s support to them will continue.
Al-Sada said it was likely that there were more local businesses to be honoured than the 45 businesses which were recognised on Thursday.
“We urge all manufacturing facilities to provide us with accurate and updated data so that we can keep track of the developments in the sector,” the Minister said.
Al-Sada also launched an ‘industrial database’, an interactive electronic platform, which will have strategic importance in industrial planning.
It will enable policymakers and investors alike to make appropriate and timely decisions.
HE the Minister of Finance Ali Shareef al-Emadi, HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif al-Sulaiti, HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi and Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassem bin Mohamed al-Thani were among those who attended the event.