Browsing 'Business' News


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The ongoing political and economic isolation of Qatar has only made the country and its people stronger, the president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum has said.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Saad Sherida Al Kaabi said the Gulf crisis has not affected Qatar’s LNG exports.

Listing 18 countries that rely on Doha’s reserves, including Japan, China, Germany and the UK, he added, “There is not a buyer of LNG that does not call on Qatar to supply it.”

Al Kaabi even expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE for taking action against his country.

“I would like to thank the four countries for their blockade, because it has made Qatar stronger, the people of Qatar stronger, their businesses stronger. We will come out of this much stronger than before,” he said.

Economic cost

Despite Al Kaabi’s remarks, Qatari officials have previously conceded that the boycott has raised expenses for the government.

For example, earlier this month Qatar’s foreign minister said it costs 10 times as much money to import food and medicine since the blockade started.

Al Meera

Turkish dairy products

The government is footing most of that bill to keep prices down for residents, he added at the time.

This is not great news for Qatar, which before the crisis had been slashing budgets amid lower global oil prices.

But officials have stressed that they have the resources to handle the challenge.

And some analysts have previously forecast that the country could ride out an economic embargo from its neighbors for months or even years.

Financial toll aside, the blockade has helped bolster Qatar’s image abroad, in that many nations have not sided with the quartet on their action.

Broken trust

Also yesterday, Al Kaabi affirmed that Qatar has no plans to cut off gas to the UAE, which depends heavily on Qatar’s gas to power its nation.

Legally, QP has that option, but “if you stop the gas, the biggest harm is to the people of the UAE. The people of the UAE are cousins, relatives, and friends … and we have nothing against them,” the CEO said.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Still, that doesn’t mean Qatar will forgive and forget everything that has transpired over the past seven weeks.

“The trust that we have built over the years has been broken overnight,” Al Kaabi told Al Jazeera.


Vodafone / Facebook

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Vodafone Qatar has confirmed that its network has “technical issues,” leading to a loss of service for customers.

In a tweet early this morning, the company acknowledged the problem and said that it was working to resolve the issue, which it said “might affect access to our network.”

And three further tweets sent seven hours later, the company said that the problems started when it was carrying out upgrade work on its systems:

The company went on to say that its staff were “working tirelessly” to fix the issue, and said that it would keep customers updated on Twitter.

However, it did not provide any time-frame for when the service might return to normal.

Customer frustration

Many of Vodafone Qatar’s customers have taken to social media to express their annoyance at the lengthy lack of service.

We’ll keep you posted on developments. Thoughts?


Rendering of housing at Ras Bufontas

A special economic zone near Hamad International Airport (HIA) moved one step closer to reality this week, after a local company was awarded a contract to build housing there.

Manateq announced the QR550 million agreement with Ismail Bin Ali Group yesterday.

It said the company will build and operate accommodation and recreational facilities for the 8,700 people who will be working in factories and warehouses in the zone.


Rendering of housing facility at Ras Bufontas

The complex will contain rooms and one- and two-bedroom apartments for workers, supervisors and technicians.

It will include catering, laundry, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities and community areas. Additionally, a public retail center, mosque and medical, banking and administrative facilities will be available onsite.


Housing complex at Ras Bufontas

Work on the housing will begin this month, and take up to three years to complete.

In a statement, Manateq CEO Fahad Rashid Al Kaabi said the zone will “play a crucial role in transforming the country into an industrial and logistics hub for the world.”

He added that the tie-up with the Ismail Bin Ali Group demonstrates how “public and private sectors can have a beneficial contribution on the economic success of our country.”

Ras Bufontas zone

Currently, plans are afoot to build three special economic zones (SEZs) in Qatar.

They are in Ras Bufontas, by the airport; Al Karana, south of the Industrial Area; and at Um Alhoul near Mesaieed.


Ras Bufontas Special Economic Zone

SEZs are typically set up by governments to provide incentives for foreign investment, as well as create jobs and boost trade.

The project is part of Qatar’s economic diversification plans, to attract more international companies to do business in the country.

To woo them, plans are underway to allow these firms to repatriate all their revenue, investments and capital overseas.


Ras Bu Fontas SEZ

The Ras Bufontas zone is the smallest one, at 4.01 square meters. It will be built in two stages, with the first phase due to be finished at the end of next year and the second in 2019.

The zone will be a hub for businesses specializing in technology, business services, logistics, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, the automotive industries, healthcare and medical devices.

In addition to showrooms and shopping, it will have hotels, service hubs and public spaces, Manateq previously said.

Other zones

The second zone in Umm Alhoul is a 33sq km that will be a light manufacturing site.

It aims to attract businesses in petrochemicals, building materials, maritime, metals, logistics, food processing and automobiles, tools and machinery.

Worley Parsons/Egis

Umm Alhoul special economic zone rendering

Finally, the Al Karana site will be the largest at 40sq km in size and is situated about halfway between Doha and the Abu Samra border with Saudi Arabia.

It will target businesses involved in building materials, machinery and fabrications, specialized spill over industries, safety and maintenance and specialized warehouse/logistics activities.