A number of industries in Qatar’s non-hydrocarbon sector have continued to contribute to the country’s diversification strategy despite the challenges the private sector has been facing since the start of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, an official of the Qatar-Indonesia Business Council (QIBC) has said.
According to QIBC president Farhan al-Sayed, the State of Qatar has mobilised several initiatives to cushion the impact of the health crisis on all sectors of society, and he lauded the speech delivered recently by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
On the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, His Highness the Amir addressed the nation saying, “The State has allocated large funds to confront the pandemic and so that our economy could safely surpass this critical stage. I have directed that a package of financial and economic incentives be provided for the private sector.”
On the recent plunge in oil prices, His Highness the Amir also stated, “Our economy should not stay hostage to fluctuations in energy prices, and I have directed the Council of Ministers to undertake radical reforms to liberalise our economies and limit the impact of such changes on it in the future. This issue is not new, we have discussed it over and over. Now is the time for action.”
Al-Sayed stressed that major players and stakeholders in the private sector would benefit from the QR75bn stimulus package announced by the government, allowing many industries to continue functioning while waiting for the market to normalise.
He said those highly-affected by the Covid-19 pandemic are the tourism and leisure, aviation, maritime, automotive, manufacturing and non-essentials, financial and banking, hydrocarbon, and sports sectors, among others.
“While the construction sector is also facing a varied range of challenges, one significant positive is that work on projects related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup is on schedule,” al-Sayed told Gulf Times yesterday.
While the property market is also coping with the impact of the global health crisis, al-Sayed said he is expecting that real estate companies may render further adjustments on rents and other deals.
“A lot of businesses that are connected with the education sector are also affected by the pandemic. Similarly, the operations of taxis and other transport-related companies were also disrupted by social distancing protocols and similar health and safety measures to prevent the spread of the infection,” al-Sayed also pointed out.
On the other hand, al-Sayed said the sectors that have benefited so far from the Covid-19 issue are e-Commerce, ICT, and agriculture, among others. The personal care, and medical supply and medical services industries also witnessed a spike in market demand, he said.
“A lot of health-connected businesses could spring up in the future as people start adjusting to the new normal. Cargo and ports are doing well. In IT-related fields, many stores witnessed a windfall in sales from laptops, computers, and tablets because of work from home and study from home arrangements,” al-Sayed explained.