Qatar: focusing on SMEs

Qatar: focusing on SMEs

SMEs set for a bigger role in Qatar

August 2018

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could be set for a much more prominent role in Qatar, with the government stepping up efforts to collaborate with local companies as part of broader diversification plans.

Local SMEs were presented with a series of potential business opportunities at the third annual Government Procurement and Contracting Conference & Exhibition (Moushtarayat), which was held in Doha, Qatar, in April.

Coordinated by the Public Works Authority, Ministry of Finance and Qatar Development Bank (QDB), the event brought together small companies, large firms and government agencies, allowing the public and private sectors to interact while also providing a platform for state entities to showcase projects open for tender or direct assignment, said a statement.

Moushtarayat 2018 saw more than 2000 business opportunities with a combined value of around QR6.5 billion ($1.8 billion) presented to SMEs, while 57 different state agencies were represented, covering most areas of public sector activity, it said.

Among the state agencies taking part was the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the authority tasked with delivering infrastructure requirements for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, it added.

In an effort to boost involvement of domestic SMEs in the World Cup, the SC announced it was making available QR700 million ($192.3 million) worth of opportunities for local companies to provide services in preparing the main stadiums and training facilities for the event.

While only a fraction of the estimated QR60 billion ($16.5 billion) total value of projects showcased at the event was dedicated to SMEs, with most being directed to large entities, the SME-focused component represents a significant increase in terms of value when compared to previous years.

In 2017 SMEs secured QR700 million ($192.3 million) in public procurement contracts out of a total of QR2.5 billion ($686.8 million), more than double the QR300 million ($82.4 million) posted in 2016.

The increased focus on SMEs highlights the important role they play in the national economy.

Of the 25,000 private sector businesses currently registered, more than 96 per cent are classified as SMEs, Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa, the chief executive officer of QDB, said during a recent speech at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar in January.

In light of this, expanding the segment and providing greater opportunities for smaller firms to take part in state-backed projects is seen as a significant source of employment and growth for local businesses.

According to Ministry of Finance forecasts, local firms could provide up to 90 per cent of supplies for state projects in the coming years, with the authorities looking to improve the capacity and diversification of services offered by SMEs.


Role of private sector

Increased activity for local businesses and efforts to develop SMEs align with a broader national strategy aimed at boosting the private sector’s contribution to the economy.

The country’s second National Development Strategy (NDS2) 2018-22, launched in March, sets the agenda for economic, social and human development for the next five years, building on the first NDS, while also dovetailing into the broader goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030, the blueprint for broader growth unveiled in 2008.

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