Peninsula - 18/4/2006
H E Yousef Hussein Kamal, Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of Economy and Commerce, said yesterday that Qatar's economic outlook was based on best exploitation of natural resources for the country's sustainable development
In his keynote address to the Qatar Economic Forum, he said that for the last 10 years Qatar's GDP soared from $17bn in 1995 to QR34.7bn at the end of 2005, noting that this year the budget of Qatar was the largest ever in its history.
He noted that the revenues from oil and gas are being utilised for infrastructure, investment in education and health with allocations amounting to one third of the state budget.
The minister also spoke of the establishment of Education City which houses among the world's most prestigious universities specialising in administration, technology, arts and science as well as the creation of the Sciences Park.
He said the volume of investments in infrastructure in Qatar is expected to reach about QR82bn.
"The demographic structure shows that 45 per cent of the population of Qatar as in other GCC countries will be less than 25 years old by 2010 and 2011. This means that we, as of now start to think of creating investment opportunities and job opportunities for them and meet their expectations", he added.
In reply to a query from the audience on the country's policy to solve the problem of inflation, Kamal said that Qatar has an annual growth rate of 15 per cent therefore the inflation rate would appear to be high.
He was confident that the inflation rate would be brought down considering that in the consumer price index the real estate sector's level was very high.
"There has been increases in house rents by more than 100 per cent", he said, adding that the government has allocated large plots of land to real estate companies such as Barwa to build residences for low and medium income families as well as for single workers, especially foreign labour.
He said that such measures would help solve the problem as the rents in these residences are pre-determined, adding that such measures would reduce the inflation rate whose main cause is the real-estate sector. Another participant remarked that some Arab countries were unable to undertake reforms which made it hard to attract investments from the Gulf region.