Qatar has fully thrown open three sectors to foreign investors. An amendment to the investment law for non-Qataris by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday allows foreign investors to hold 100 percent stake in consultative and technical work services, the information and technology sector, and distribution services.
The amendment also empowers the respective ministers to relax the law on foreign investment in nine key sectors including agriculture, industry, health, education, tourism and natural resources’ development. The landmark decision is expected to add muscle to the country’s booming economy.
However, the amendment prohibits non-Qataris from investing in the banking and insurance sectors. But it authorizes the Council of Ministers to look into in some exceptional cases. The foreign investment will be allowed in compliance with the country’s National Development Strategy.
The business community has hailed the decision and termed the amendment as timely and predicted a huge foreign cash flow into the country.
The decision to amend the investment law would also give a big boost to key sectors like education, health, tourism and agriculture, they said.
The amendment is part of a series of measures taken by the state to facilitate foreign investment in the country. The decision will help Qatar emerge as a major destination for foreign investment in the region, a section of business leaders said.
The global meltdown led to a slowdown in Qatar’s economy at the end of 2008. However, things have changed now and the negative effect of the downturn has eased, especially in key sectors such as finance and banking and with regard to local companies.
Businessmen and financial experts pointed out that availability of land was a major problem being faced by investors. They want the regulatory authorities to ease the procedures for new investors to acquire land.
Investment in the education, health and tourism sectors needs large area of land. The regulatory authorities must also ease the registration procedures for land and visas, they said.
“It is a landmark decision and will definitely have a positive impact on the country’s economy”, said a leading businessman, Ahmed Al Halaf.
“The latest amendment is part of a series of ongoing reforms in the country’s economic and financial sectors. The decisions will definitely help attracting huge amount of foreign capital to the local market”, said Ibrahim Al Hay Eid.
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