‘Qatar to be less affected by financial crisis’


Dubai : Qatar’s ruler Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani Tuesday said his country would be less affected by the global financial crisis than other developing nations because there was no shortage of liquidity.

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“The consequences of the world crisis on the state of Qatar will be less than on many of the other developing countries, because the banks and monetary institutions in Qatar enjoy a high monetary cover,” the Emir said while addressing the 37th ordinary session of the country’s advisory council in Doha.

“In addition to that, the increase in the oil and gas production will compensate the fall in their prices, if that fall continues, and the monetary reserve of the government will help satisfy the needs of the country if necessary,” he said.

His comments came even as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited Qatar this weekend seeking that country’s bigger role in his proposed expanded International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a bailout package for the world from the global financial crisis.

Qatar was among the first countries in the Gulf to take remedial steps to secure its financial system as the crisis sparked by the credit crunch in the West engulfed the world markets last month.

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, had bought up to 20 percent shares of Qatari banks to support the banks’ capitals and improve their financial situation as the crisis reached Gulf shores.

The Emir reiterated that the global crisis did not prevent Qatar from going about its development work in accordance with the goals that have already been set, the state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

“I would like to affirm in this respect that the international crisis did not prevent us from carrying on with the realisation of sustained development according to the goals set for it – achieving economic and financial stability, establishing a sound monetary policy and a monetary cover that is efficient and safe of risks, improve the monetary services of the State,” Al Thani said.

Qatar’s national economy too achieved high rates of growth in 2007, he said.

“The gross national product grew by about 25 percent during that year. The role of the non-petroleum sector was satisfactory, where it grew at a rate higher than that of the oil sector,” he stated.

He also reiterated the country’s commitment to diversify its economy from oil and gas to a knowledge driven one.

“We look forward to achieving further progress in our projects that are related to the economy and the citizen who is the axis of development and its main concern, especially that related to legislations organising the family and the child affairs,” The Emir said.

Coming to the country’s foreign policy, he said it adhered “to our firm principles in this field as reflected basically in peaceful coexistence, international cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and common interests, adherence to the values of justice, openness to the other, interaction among peoples, cultures and civilizations and respect of human rights”.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Qatar this weekend in the course of a two-nation tour to the Gulf.