Qatar is to freeze the prices of four basic construction materials for three years, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani told businessmen here yesterday.
Speaking at the Second Consultation Meeting with Businessmen and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), he said: "On the directives of H H the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, there will be a freeze in current prices for four construction materials, including sand, steel, cement and gabbro, which will not be increased for a period of three years."
He said a decision to this effect would be issued soon and the government would bear any surcharges so that contractors in the construction sector could go on with their projects without fear of price increase in these basic materials.
The Prime Minister also said the subsidized prices at which gasoil like diesel is sold to local companies will be extended for another year in view of the current situation. The government spends some QR1.4bn a year to support the price of diesel that is used domestically, he said.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem noted that inflation is a global phenomenon, but said some traders were also responsible for increasing the prices of certain products.
The Prime Minister also announced that as part of the government's contribution to the private sector, the Qatar Development Bank (QDB) is to set up a company with a capital of approximately QR2bn.
The company's objective will be to form partnerships with the private sector to bring about innovation.
Meanwhile, the government is planning to allocate soon 104,000 plots of land for housing in different parts of the country, including Doha, to Qatari nationals who do not yet own their own house.
Referring to the dollar peg of the Qatari Riyal, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem said there was no plan either in the short or medium term to de-peg from the dollar or change the exchange rate of the Qatari Riyal.
As for the developments taking place in the country, he called for the local economy to be more competitive in view of the current regional and economic situation embodied by globalization and the requirements of the World Trade Organization.
This, he said, requires modern methods of production and management and use of knowledge-based tools.
He also said stepping up cooperation between the private and public sectors and opening up more opportunities in service provision to the private sector was one of the government's top priorities.
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