PAR FOR THE COURSE

Qatar 2019 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

By encouraging import substitution and getting more SMEs to specialize in adding value, firms like Manateq are ensuring Qatar has a stronger industrial and manufacturing base for years to come.

BIOGRAPHY
Fahad Rashid Al-Kaabi joined Manateq in 2013, bringing with him over 20 years of wide-ranging work experience in engineering, project management, and top-level administration. Prior to QPM, he was manager of the Conservation and Energy Efficiency Department of Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation. During this time, Al-Kaabi formulated conservation policies, strategies, and rules in conformity with conservation laws, while promoting educational awareness for energy conservation in Qatar and ensuring compliance with international and GCC energy conservation guidelines. He received bachelors in industrial engineering and business management from the University of Miami and a master’s in project management from the University of Houston.
Fahad Rashid Al-Kaabi
BIOGRAPHY
Fahad Rashid Al-Kaabi joined Manateq in 2013, bringing with him over 20 years of wide-ranging work experience in engineering, project management, and top-level administration. Prior to QPM, he was manager of the Conservation and Energy Efficiency Department of Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation. During this time, Al-Kaabi formulated conservation policies, strategies, and rules in conformity with conservation laws, while promoting educational awareness for energy conservation in Qatar and ensuring compliance with international and GCC energy conservation guidelines. He received bachelors in industrial engineering and business management from the University of Miami and a master’s in project management from the University of Houston.

Qatar now offers 100% ownership to foreign investors. To what extent can Manateq Zones be attractive to foreign investors?

It is indeed a welcome move by the Qatari government because in the past, foreign investors faced complexities in setting up business operations in Qatar. At Manateq, we are honored to play a role in helping facilitate investment opportunities for local and foreign investors in our commitment to Qatar's National Vision 2030. The zones are mandated to encourage the establishment of new industries, sectors, and businesses, thereby bringing significant contributions and benefits to the country, including the development of a vibrant private sector and a diversified knowledge-based economy. Manateq achieves this by offering a range of business-friendly services and incentives through its Client Services Center. In executing this, Manateq will aim not just to have new domestic, SME, and foreign businesses locate their projects here, but also encourage import substitution and added value in the form of new jobs, skills, technologies, and locally purchased materials and services. As a full-service agent, we are able to ease the strain and reduce the time it takes for companies to set up business in Qatar. We will continue to leverage our expertise and 360-degree services to help drive that investment. In times to come, we will see more such infrastructural landscapes developing in these areas to support investors, boosting economic growth.

How would you rate Qatar's recent efforts to attract more foreign investment?

FDI is a stimulating factor in any economy, and the Qatari government has long recognized this as it strives to diversify the economy away from oil and gas. Initiatives that encourage and attract investment across the full spectrum of sectors are positive. World-class infrastructure coupled with incentives and legislative framework regulating foreign investments in Qatar, among other measures, have made the country's logistics infrastructure on par with the best. Manateq sees many excellent opportunities for Qatar to increase FDI inflow. Qatar has the right infrastructure and flexibility in the system to attract more international companies and compete with any other logistics park or industrial zone in the world.

How have you been working with the private sector to advance the status of Manateq's logistics and warehousing parks? What has been the role of PPPs in this regard?

The government has made significant progress since forming a technical committee to stimulate private sector participation in economic development projects directed and managed by the Prime Minister's office. The committee seeks opportunities in public-private partnerships (PPPs), and Manateq plays a crucial role in this. Qatar's private sector also plays an important role, and the country is currently working on a PPP law that will support the sector and foreign investors. We are confident in Qatar's sustainable economic policies and ability to consolidate its position as a regional business hub. The government, meanwhile, is committed to invest its oil and gas revenues to build a diversified and competitive economy. In conjunction with this, Manateq recently celebrated the successful completion of four warehousing parks developed in partnership with the private sector. We have now offered around 2 million sqm of warehousing space by inviting developers in the field of warehousing and logistics services to tender for the construction of these. Following the tendering process, contracts for the project were awarded to four developers on a build, operate, transfer (BOT) basis for 25 years.