Government Role in the Economy

The Ministry of Economy and Commerce pays a lot of attention to stimulate all sectors of economic activity; lay down the bases of economic freedom, fair competition and transparency; achieve commercial openness and enhance international cooperation. The Ministry works to prepare a favorable investment atmosphere to attract local and foreign capitals and increase the confidence of investors in the worth of the Qatari economy. It seeks to encourage the private sector and remove obstacles that oppose its marsh; simplify company establishment procedures; develop financing and insurance services and markets; protect the intellectual property, trade marks and patents and participate in international exhibitions and markets.

The Ministry also prepares the internal legislation for trade systems, supervises the conduct of economic and commercial activity and undertakes the conclusion of bilateral, regional and international commercial as well as economic cooperation agreements.

The Ministry is composed of the following departments: Economic Affairs Department; Commercial Affairs Department; Specification, Measures And Consumer Protection Department; Administrative and Financial Affairs Department; Cooperation Department and Planning and Follow-Up Unit. Qatar became the 121st member in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), presently known as the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The Government of Qatar has announced its intention to allocate a total expenditure of $25 billion for the fiscal year 2009/10 despite projecting a budgetary deficit of $1.5 billion (or 2% of GDP). Of the $25 billion, 40% (or $10.4 billion) will be allocated to non-oil and gas sectors, reflecting the Government of Qatar’s strong commitment to invest in economic diversification through public spending on transportation, health care, education and housing projects. This will create multiplier effects on the rest of the economy, contributing to increased consumption and demand for better quality housing, office and retail facilities.

Qatar has attracted an estimated $100 billion in investment. It is estimated that Qatar will invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years.

It is estimated that Qatar will invest $60 billion in roads, infrastructure development, housing and real estate, health/medical and sanitation projects in the next decade. The GOQ and private sector are actively seeking project designers, engineers and managers, in addition to needed production inputs like cement and heavy machinery and equipment.

Qatar imports over 90 percent of its food. Major food suppliers to the Qatar market include the EU, Australia and Saudi Arabia. Most of Qatar’s food product imports transit through the United Arab Emirates.

Other sectors with significant opportunities include: Education and Training Services, Information Communication Technologies, Architecture, Construction, Engineering Services, Air Conditioning Equipment, Safety and Security, Defense Sales, Oil and Gas Equipment and Services, Medical Equipment and Services, and other sectors.