Mon, Oct 09, 2017 - Page 14 News List

Qatar to support private sector as sanctions hurt

Reuters, DUBAI

The Qatari government on Saturday announced measures to help private sector businesses after its economy was hurt by sanctions imposed by other Arab states.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani decided to cut rents paid by companies in Qatar’s logistics zones in half during this year and next, official news agency QNA reported.

New investors in the zones are to be completely exempt from paying rents for a year if they obtain building permits by certain deadlines.

Qatar Development Bank, a state-founded body which lends to firms, is to postpone receiving loan installments for up to six months to facilitate industrial sector projects.

Al-Thani also told all ministries and government departments to increase their procurement of local products to 100 percent from 30 percent, if the local products meet necessary specifications and the purchases obey tender rules.

Qatar’s economy expanded just 0.6 percent from a year earlier in the April-to-June quarter, its slowest growth since the 2009-2010 global financial crisis, after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties on June 5.

The four states accuse Doha of supporting terrorism, but Doha denies it supports terrorism and says the sanctions are intended to force it to change its foreign policies.

Gulf Arab states also accuse Qatar of cozying up to non-Arab Iran, which they accuse of trying to expand its influence in Arab countries by supporting Shiite Muslim minorities, something Tehran denies.

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