Qatar utilizes the revenues of its vast wealth of oil and gas in other sectors with a view to expand the economic base and develop a strong private sector. Through its full and active membership the World Trade Organization and flexible business regulations it works to attract foreign investors to engage in other economic sectors besides oil and gas in the country.
Qatar provides many investment incentives including:
- low electricity, water and gas rates;
- nominal lease rate of only (5) Qatari Riyals per square meter per year for industrial land sites for the first three years from site assignment and project operation, after which lease rate will increase to (10) Qatari Riyals;
- exemption from import taxes on heavy duty machinery and their spare parts and raw materials;
- exemption from import taxes;
- unlimited quantities of imported materials;
- no restrictions on money exchange and transfer of profits abroad;
- flexible regulations and procedures to import skilled and unskilled workforce.
Based on law No 13 of 2000 on the organization of non-Qatari capital investment, non-Qatari investors can invest in all fields with a shareholding of 49% and 100% in the following sectors:
- Development and utilization of natural resources and mining
- Consultation services
- Art work services
- Information technology
- Cultural services
- Art work services
- Sports services
- Entertainment services
As for banking sector, it is possible to establish a bank by a decision from the council of ministers. Foreigners have the right to own real estate at certain locations in the country.
Laws of investment
Qatari regulations have been put to find an investment environment encouraging at attracting capitals and achieving integration with adjacent Arab countries and eventually provide the bases for protecting the national economy against any adverse effects.
Law No 2 of 2000 was issued to organize real estate possession by GCC citizens. The law limited this activity to three estates for residential purpose at an area of no more than 3 thousand square kilometer. The law stipulates that 5 years need to pass before the naturalized citizens could own a real estate in the country.
Law No13 for 2000 was also issued about the organization of the foreign capital investment in the economic activity to determine fields allowed to non-Qataris to operate within. The law also identified what could foreigners invest of funds whether in cash or in kind or rights having financial value in the state of Qatar as well as in kind assets imported for investment, profits, proceeds and reserves resulting from the investment of foreign capital in any allowed project and also moral rights like licenses, patents and registered marks in the country.
The law has allowed the foreigner investors to invest in all national economy sectors provided that they have a partner of partners from Qatar having no less than 51% of capital, though based on a decision taken by minister of economy and trade to allow foreign investors to exceed their 49% contribution to be 100% of capital in the fields of agriculture, industry, health, education and tourism develop and utilize natural resources or energy and mining on condition that it is in line with the development plan of the state.
The law has banned foreign capitals to invest in national banks and insurance companies and trade agencies or possession of real estate. The law has identified investment incentives by allowing to allot the required plot of land to the foreign investor to establish his investment project via long lease of no more than 50 years renewable.
The law has exempted the foreign investor’s capital from income tax for no more than 10 years since the day the investment project operates. It also has allowed customs exemption on the imports of the project’s equipment necessary to operation. The foreign investor in the field of industry is exempted from customs fees on imports of raw materials or half manufactured goods necessary for production and not available in the local market.
General exemptions include:
- The foreign investor has the right to import for his investment project what is necessary for the establishment, operation or expansion.
- The invested foreign capital is exempted from tax income for no more than ten years from the day the project was operated.
- Customs exemptions on the project’s imports of machinery and equipment necessary for its establishment.
- Customs exemption on industrial project on its imports of raw materials or half manufactured goods necessary for production and not available in the local market.
- Allow investment opportunity and prepare primary studies for industrial projects.
- Prepare economic and technical feasibility studies, provide technical advisory to the private sector willing to invest.
- Start appropriate sites for industrial investments on the allocated plots of land in the industrial zone at suitable lease for long periods
- Assist licensed industrial projects to obtain loans from bank of industrial development and other financial organizations.
- Provide assistance to investors based on information, data and studies available about the selected projects for investment.
- Provide the project with power, petroleum, water and natural gas at competitive prices.
- An industrial area fully equipped with required services for various industrial purposes.
- Finance medium and small scale industrial projects given by Qatar Development Bank at encouraging interest rate and for suitable term
- Flexible procedures to bring industrial workforce
- Flexible work laws that ensure rights of all parties concerned about investment and workforce.
- Health services at reasonable rates.
- Flexible regulations and procedures to register trade and industrial facilities.
- Easy access to government officials to work on and resolve problems that face investments.
- Investment disputes are resolved via commercial arbitration, courts or Shari’a courts in the state according to jurisdiction.
- Independent judicial system.
- The Qatari Company for Real Estate Investment: www.alaqaria.com.qa
- Qatar Investment Authority: www.qia.qa
- Investment House: www.invhouse.com
- Qatar First Investment Bank: www.qfib.com.qa
- Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company: www.lusail.com
- Qatar Investment Authority: www.qinvest.com
- Qatar & Oman Investment Company: www.qatar-oman.com
- Qatar Financial Center: www.qfc.com.qa