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Posted On: 17 June 2009 09:00 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Shape up, PM tells private sector

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Qatari investments overseas have suffered in the wake of the global financial crisis and the loss due to falling asset value has been worth $4bn. But the country has made profits from other sources to the tune of QR7bn in this period, thus far offsetting the loss, the Prime Minister said here yesterday. “So you can see that we haven’t eventually suffered any loss due to the world financial turbulence,” H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, who also holds the foreign portfolio, told Qatari businessmen at an annual interface at the Doha Sheraton. Answering a question, he clarified that Qatar’s investments were not concentrated in the West and were evenly distributed among regions, including Asia and Europe. About Qatar’s bid to have a stake in Porsche, the Premier said he could not disclose details as both parties had agreed to remain tight-lipped during the negotiations. Asked if Qatar was bidding for 25 percent equity in the German luxury carmaker, he said the figure was wrong. The Premier was critical of the private sector and said enough was enough. “We can’t be a nursery for you for ever. You have been protected (by the state) for long,” he quipped when told that foreign investors were being wooed at the expense of local companies. Talking of proxy businesses run by expatriates on behalf of citizens, he said he was aware of the outcome of such tacit trade deals. A national signs a number of documents, there is a dispute at the end, and the ‘real partner’ flees the country. “Such disputes have been occurring day in and day out…This is not a practical way of doing business. It is laziness,” said the Prime Minister. Local companies have failed to grow with time. There are only two or three companies which have really kept pace with the changing times, he said. “The tenders’ committee has until now given priority to local companies.” In reply to a question about Qatari consumer products versus products from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries earlier, he said: “We cannot protect a bad product, a product which is of inferior quality.”