June 06 - 12, 2005



Qatar has set an ambitious target of raising the national GDP to $69 billion by 2011.

Addressing the Third Annual Conference on Finance and Investment in Qatar, Minister of Finance Yousef Hussein Kamal, observed that Qatar has taken a number of measures to attract investors and provide an easy access to the local market. "If you have a good policy, many investors would try to have an access to your field, which is our target," said Kamal.
He said Qatar could deal with the increase in oil prices by controlling the budget, which was doubled in the last three years.



The finance minister said most of the state's budget goes to infrastructure projects that have an important role to play in the national economy.

"Qatar's Oil Stabilizing Fund, started in 2000, is significant to the public sector and to the international investors as well. The fund would protect them from the effect of the world-wide fluctuating oil prices to the betterment of the future generations," the minister said.

Kamal said the strategic vision of Qatar depends on diversification, "as the gas and oil would not remain for ever." Therefore Qatar plans to have sufficient alternative resources and not to have to rely on oil and gas by 2020, "even though we know these two sectors are the cornerstone for diversification," he said.

Kamal expected that with these alternative resources the GDP will triple by 2035. He said the diversification policy includes education and health where two-thirds of the total budget outlay is spent.

"We have the potential to be strategic partners with medicine and IT companies, as we are able to own up to 60% of their shares," the minister added.


The Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) road show rode into Doha last week promising 10 weeks of 'bigger and better' attractions starting from June 22.

Ibrahim Saleh, chief operations officer of DSS, speaking after the road show, at a press briefing highlighted the eighth edition of the event, which he feels would complement a massive transformation of the city with an array of interesting and innovative events.

These are "designed to provide children with the best in entertainment and knowledge this summer". Saleh led a delegation of the Dubai government including Capt Omar al-Shamsi, head of the PR and protocol department at the Dubai Department of Naturalisation and Residency (DNRD), DSS officials, representatives of the travel industry, hotels and rent-a-car companies. The team is on a five-nation GCC tour.

The DSS, which runs until September 2, offers lots of shopping and entertaining options through its 10 theme-specific weeks organized jointly by various government departments, 13 key sponsors and the Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) at a number of participating shopping malls, Saleh said.

The DSS has shown an amazing growth rate over the last years. Started in 1998 with just 600,000 visitors and a total spending of Dh850mn, the festival last year attracted 1.51mn visitors who spent a total of Dh1.56bn. It is poised to register 10% growth this year.

The DSS starts with the Dubai Municipality-organized Flower Surprises on June 22 and ends with the Dubai Development Board organized Back-2-School Surprises on September 2.

The other theme-specific weeks are Sweets Surprises; Arts Surprises; Color Surprises; Ice Surprises; Adventure Surprises; Cartoon Surprises; Heritage Surprises; and Knowledge Surprises.

The Modhesh Fun City, at the Dubai World Trade Centre, will be the event's biggest summer venue and it will feature a large number of entertainment zones and play areas, Saleh said.

The Bundle of Surprises, offered by the hospitality industry, provides free airport and venue transfers, complimentary breakfast and steep discounts.

The grand DSS raffle gives visitors a chance to win one BMW 740Li 2006 and a bumper prize of Dh100, 000 as part of the popular DSS promotion. The raffle is priced at Dh200.

There are also individual scratch 'n' win coupons, raffles and discounts offered by the 35 participating malls and outlets throughout the event.

The events at the malls include Disney Magic, Puppet Theatre, Men Baladi, Kids Fashion and an exhibition of hobbies, besides other fun events.

All the events in malls and outside will be held in temperature controlled venues, the official said. Capt Omar al-Shamsi said his department, an active participant in the DSS event, makes sure that visitors are extended all facilities as far as their visas and entry at Dubai airport are concerned.


Trade and industry in booming Dubai will soon be connected with 120 international trade information centers elsewhere in 90 countries to enable the business community to operate at the highest professional level to achieve the economic targets of the country.

In this connection, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has decided to host the country's first international trade center, called Trade Point, which would be operational by next three months.

The Dubai Trade Point will be part of a global network of information centers belonging to the World Trade Points Federation (WTPF), headquartered at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.



This is the first such centre in the UAE. The goal is to establish an information centre that relies on the latest technologies and a comprehensive network of international business information. This is to be a very important source of information for the business community.

Members who are chosen by the DCCI to become part of the Dubai Trade Point will have access to a network of more than 120 trade information centers in over 90 countries, which looks to help small and medium sized companies (SMEs) increase their international trade activities by using electronic commerce technologies.

DCCI will be enjoying the option to choose the members that will be allowed to enter the Trade Point centre, which is aimed at to go for selective members who will benefit and also strengthen the program.

According to Tariq Lootah, director of the Trade and Industrial Development Department, DCCI, it is an effort concentrating on developing export sectors, and so the priority will be for local manufacturers and industries that are looking to export their products, as well as industries involved in re-exporting.

The chosen members will use the Point to access a global network of trade point centers to obtain trade-related information, actual and potential traders, data on business and market opportunities, potential clients and suppliers and trade regulations and requirements for WTPF member countries.

In fact, the Trade Point Program was created by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2000. The World Trade Point Federation was established in November 2002 after being changed from the UCTAD program to a separate federation.

DCCI signed an agreement with WTPF to establish Dubai Trade Point in April.

Arab member countries include Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Palestinian Authority.

To establish a Trade Point in a country or city, one needs to assess feasibility of establishing the centre, which includes identifying source of start-up funding; obtain government letter of recommendation; sign an agreement with the federation; set a legal framework for the Trade Point; develop a business plan for the Trade Point; and establish the standard Trade Point services.


A number of Pakistani professionals from the banking and financial sector in Qatar hosted a lunch in honor of State Bank of Pakistan's governor Dr Ishrat Hussain, who visited Qatar to participate in the Conference on Islamic Banking Services last week.

The event, organized by Qatar Lubricants Company general manager Fawad Rana, was held at the Sheraton.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Hussain briefed the audience on the development in Pakistan's economy and the significant growth achieved in various fields after the recent economic reforms.

Urging the community members to use their technical expertise in serving the host country even better, he emphasized the importance of relations between Qatar and Pakistan.

Dr Hussain expressed confidence over the close co-operation between both countries by pointing out the potential of investments in industry and technology, particularly in oil and gas, cement, steel and automobile sectors where the economy of Pakistan continues to show promising and stable growth.

The expected growth in Pakistan's GDP over the next five years is estimated to be around 7% per annum, he added.


Oman Air HAS introduced flights to two new destinations in India Delhi and Hyderabad.

Starting from this week besides flying to Muscat with a daily flight.

The launching ceremony was attended by travel agency managers and senior officials from Ali Bin Ali Travels, the general sales agent for the Omani carrier.

The airline will operate three flights a week to Hyderabad and four to Delhi. To both destinations, the airline will offer special introductory fares", the manager said.

The passenger response on the opening day was "very good, especially for Hyderabad.

The introductory fare to Delhi will be QR700 one way, and QR1, 250 for a return journey. Hyderabad will cost QR700 one way and QR1, 400 for the round trip. Tax is applicable at QR160 on one way, and QR320 on return tickets.

These fares are applicable only for travel until June 19 to both destinations, the manager said. After that date, Delhi fares will be QR800 and QR1, 500, and Hyderabad QR1, 130 and QR1, 800.


Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) plans construction of a Dh3.42 billion power generation and desalination project as part of a four-year Dh10 billion capacity expansion program in Dubai.

The Jebel Ali Power and Desalination Station L Phase 2 is Dewa's largest project so far and one of its most important aimed at expanding current capacity substantially.

Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, managing director and chief executive officer, Dewa says that bigger projects are in the pipeline to meet Dubai's consumption forecast and projected growth in demand due to the huge construction and development projects.

The Jebel Ali plant having a capacity to generate about 1200 MW (mega watts) of power will ensure a supply of 55 MIGD (million imperial gallons per day) of water. The first phase of the plant is scheduled for commissioning in the first quarter of 2007 while remaining part of the project during the first quarter of 2008.

The project was awarded to the consortium of Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company of Korea and Fisia Italimpianti of Italy. Project consultants are Lahmeyer International of Germany.

Equipped with the most advanced control and monitoring units and technologies for gas and thermal emission reduction to protect the environment, the power plant will be based on gas-fired system, as gas is considered one of the cleanest fuels environmentally.

This station will be a model for the new generation of power and desalination stations.

The plant design took into consideration the results of an environmental impact study carried out by Dewa in cooperation with Dubai Municipality's environment department.

The Hyundai-Fisia consortium outbid four others for the desalination plant and two others for the power plant to win the contract. Hyundai and Fisia have been involved in several other power and desalination projects in the UAE.

(Inputs from PAGE sources)