QATAR Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al-Thani …urges private sector companies to go public

Qatar’s private sector contribution to national exchequer has not reached the desired level and that the present level of listed companies in the country’s bourse has not reflected the size and position of the economy, HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani said.

With Qatar budgeting a $200bn infrastructure spend for the next decade, ample opportunities exist for private companies, which should consider going public not only to have a “significant positive” impact on the economy but also help government attract foreign investment, the Premier told a seminar “Listing of Private Companies: Supporting Qatar’s National Vision”, organised by the Qatar Exchange (QE) in association with Qatari Businessmen Association.

“Given the number of incorporated companies (in QE) at the moment, we believe that their number does not reflect the size and position of the Qatari economy due to the fact that large influential economic entities still remain outside the market,” he said.

Increasing the number of joint stock companies has a “significant positive” impact on the economy as a whole, he said, adding every country, therefore, needs these type of companies so that they can help the governments provide basic services to their citizens.

“The financial market is one of the most important standards used by foreign investors to determine the strength of the economy. Therefore, the existence of a strong financial market that includes a large number of giant companies with good financial performance would be a great help for the government to easily attract foreign investment,” the Prime Minister said.

He said the stock market is an important component of national economic fabric, and such development provides shareholders with multiple investment options, especially since the market is in need for incorporating more companies in the coming period to keep pace with the rapid economic growth of the country.

Stressing on the importance of transforming family-owned businesses into joint stock companies, as a first step towards incorporating them in the financial market, he said such action would ensure the continuity and growth, while helping in developing the market, expanding its base and diversifying its sectors.

“Turning family-owned businesses into incorporated joint ventures increases the overall effectiveness of the economy, and has a positive impact on the local economy as a result of developing standards and controls for family-owned businesses, which represents a real added value to the national economy.”

Highlighting that state has allocated a huge budget on infrastructure, education, youth and healthcare projects, whose total value is expected to reach about $200bn over the next decade, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said  private companies had an important role to play in the process of the economic growth.

Stressing that Qatar’s economy has gone through positive changes, he said the government had focused primarily on the development of the private sector and on strengthening its role in the economic development.

“However, the role of the private sector as one of the pillars of diversifying income sources has not thus far reached the desired level and much remains to be done to develop it. The responsibility for doing so rests with both the government and the private sector,” he said.

Expressing confidence that private companies would work towards taking advantage of the opportunities to become incorporated in the stock market in order to meet the development challenges of the present and the future, the Premier said “it is therefore necessary to take initiatives to support and strengthen the role of the private sector in development, so it would become an active and significant partner in achieving the desired economic and social development”.

Source: Caye Global News, Gulf Times

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