16 February 2017 By Pratap John
Qatar’s commitment to infrastructure upgrade and economic diversification has helped buffer the impact of the oil price fall, said HE the Minister of Energy and Industry, Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada.
Despite the fall in oil price from an average $54 in 2015 to $46 last year, Qatar’s real GDP grew by about 3%, al-Sada said in his keynote address at the ‘Energy and Economic Diversification Policies’ roundtable at the Four Seasons yesterday.
“Although the real GDP growth has slowed down, from the high rates before the sustained fall in oil price, Qatar has been able to maintain high level of economic activities,” al-Sada noted.
Strong performance of non-hydrocarbon activities, especially in the construction, financial, insurance and other service sectors has helped Qatar maintain its GDP growth in the near-term.
Qatar, the minister said, followed the policy of industrial diversification to lessen its dependence on hydrocarbons. As a result, the contribution of the non-hydrocarbon sector is increasing in the country’s GDP.
The Qatar National Vision 2030, under the guidance of HH the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is the roadmap that guided the country’s long-term strategy for development and diversification in all sectors.
For the energy sector, al-Sada said, the policy covered a range of objectives to contribute to the development and growth of Qatar’s economy and meet the energy needs of its domestic market.
“Successful investments in hydrocarbons have been the main engine for sustained and rapid economic growth in Qatar. We have established ourselves as a gas-based economy; our investments in the sector are effective and dynamic and take into account all market factors. This will help ensure that we will keep monestising hydrocarbon resources to support further development and transform the nation into a sustainable and diversified economy,” al-Sada said.
Qatar, he said, has “intensified the use of all applicable means for increasing efficiency of production by focusing on cost reduction and maintaining safety and reliability, thereby increasing the competitiveness of the hydrocarbon investment.
“Converting these natural assets into financial wealth has provided us the source to invest in world-class infrastructure, build efficient delivery mechanisms for public services, and create a highly skilled and productive labour force to support the development of the nation.”
Al-Sada also said Qatar “played a responsible role” in addressing global energy needs and associated market challenges.
“Qatar continues effective action to build a firm common ground based on collaborative efforts among producers, both within and outside of Opec. The decision by both Opec and non-Opec producers to cut their output, support efforts in expediting the rebalancing of supply and demand and the drawdown of stockpile overhang, which is currently at a high level,” al-Sada said.
The roundtable was organised by the Qatar Leadership Centre (QLC) and Rice University’s Baker Institute in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Industry and Qatar University.
Dr Abdulla bin Ali al-Thani, QLC managing director and member of board of directors said, “QLC advances solutions to contemporary challenges faced by Qatar and the region through collaboration and important events like the roundtable. The centre believes in the power of engagement with influential thinkers to foster debate and positive change.”
“Some of the world’s foremost energy experts and decision makers have gathered in Doha to make this roundtable a success,” said Edward P Djerejian, director, Baker Institute. “We are proud to partner with an innovative centre like QLC, which is dedicated to harnessing Qatar’s human capital while contributing to the sustainable growth of the region.”
An impressive roster of speakers and roundtable facilitators is participating in the event. This includes HE Abdulla bin Hamad al-Attiyah, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry.
© Gulf Times 2017