As the ongoing blockade against Qatar reaches a 60 day mark, entrepreneurs from the siege countries are looking for an opening to invest in Qatar.
“Own Your Factory in Qatar” single window project had invited investors in June. The registrations were concluded on July 19, a total of 9349 applications were received, of which 87% were from Qatar.
However, it should be noted around 41 investors were from Egypt, 24 were from Saudi Arabia and 15 were from the UAE. The project assures all approvals and industrial and environmental licenses within days of applications.
Though the initiative was started much before the blockade, the current situation has propelled activation of the programme much faster, according to an official Single Window. “The initiative is aimed at developing local manufacturing products needed here. We are now in a situation where some of our products are being imported from the neighbouring countries. We have listed these items and have prioritised 100 of these items that we need to start manufacturing locally,” the official added.
More than 9300 applicants from 50 countries had applied for around 250 investment opportunities. The initiative covers eight main sectors as metal industry; food; medical; paper; chemicals; equipment and vehicles; electrical; and rubber and plastic industry.
“The initiative gives investors many privileges such as issuance of business licenses and land facilities within 72 hours. It also facilitates instant visas for employees, ready infrastructure including water, electricity and road facilties,” said Salaman M Kaldari, Chairman- Coordination Committee, Single Window.
“Moreover, these local products would be given priority in the local market, 10 percent reservation on government purchases and; support and promotion when exporting the products. These investment projects will be exempt from income tax for 10 years and there will be an exemption from customs duty for raw material imports,” he told the media.
Most of the investors were looking for opportunities in Food sector, followed by metal and paper sectors.
The investors will be shortlisted based on their technical knowhow and also the financial evaluation and not on nationality. The selected investors will be announced in September.
“With these facilities, market demand and government support, this is the best time to invest in Qatar,” said Ahmed Al Yafai, who had registered for opening a plastic waste to plumbing material recycling firm.
In some of the sectors, non-Qatari investors can have more than 49 percent of the ownership. While applicants who do not need assistance for land and finance, can get business licences in 72 days, others will be given licences after a feasibility study. Lands will be awarded in Um Alhoul SEZ or Industrial Area, according to the facility needed. Plots will be leased for some 25 years at very low rates.
The initiative is controlled by the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Energy and Industry, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, Qatar Development Bank, Manateq and Qatar Chamber.