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Posted On: 15 March 2011 11:46 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Qatar plans to invest up to $170bn in 10 years

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DOHA: Qatar’s 2011-2012 budget which starts on April 1 is expected to exceed the 2010-2011 target with 40 percent allocated to infrastructure projects, Minister of Finance and Economy H E Yousuf Hussein Kamal said yesterday. Yousuf Hussein would not put a figure on this increase, saying it was still undecided as discussions were still going on between the Ministry of Economy and Finance and other ministries. Qatar’s real gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to record 18 percent growth in 2011 if oil prices stand at between $70 and $75 per barrel, but if oil prices exceed $75 per barrel then this growth will be even stronger. The state boosted spending by 25 percent in the current fiscal year to about $32.4bn, helped by robust oil prices and gas output expansion. It is set to spend even more in the run-up to hosting the 2022 World Cup. He said Qatar plans to invest between $160bn-$170bn on infrastructure and oil and gas projects in the next 10 years. In contrast, Qatar allocated more than $75bn on infrastructure projects between 2004 and 2010 with the pick reaching $20bn in 2008 alone. In January this year there were projects worth $85bn under development in the country with other projects worth $130bn planned for the next three years. The Minister was speaking at MultaQa Qatar 2011, a conference dedicated to insurance and reinsurance industry which opened yesterday. The two-day conference entitled ‘Addressing the Prospects and Challenges of Growth, Competition and Regulation’ and hosted by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA) attracted a delegation of over 300 senior executives from 26 different countries. The conference is examining how regional industry should prepare for the next phase of accelerated growth and to address this topic an international line-up of speakers were brought together to share their visions for the future and also explore the challenges for growth competition and regulation. Yousuf Hussein said while the average growth rate of insurance premiums in the GCC stood at 28 percent between 2005-2010 the market is expected to grow steadily and overtake other regions. He added that the insurance premiums in the GCC market is expected to double to more than $27bn in the coming five years until 2014. He also mentioned factors that will drive growth in the region’s insurance sector, including the overall state of the region’s economy on the backdrop of the current global economic climate, the low level of penetration of the sector in the economies of the region and the great number of infrastructure projects being undertaken. The low penetration of premiums in the Gulf at 1.9 percent compared to 7 percent globally provides a great opportunity to the region and shows the sector has great potential for growth in the region. The minister said the GCC as a whole count among the top 20 strongest economies in the world because of their high growth rate that has surpassed other countries in the past few years. He said the government of Qatar will work on providing an adequate environment for the growth of insurance market and the new regulations for the financial market that has been enacted will promote the country’s ability to attract insurance professionals in order to promote the development of the country’s insurance industry. He added that the QFC had issued a license for the first captive insurance company and is expected to issue more licenses for such captive insurance companies this year. By Nasser Al Harthy