The new financial hub will attract multi-national companies to Qatar which is likely to develop Doha into the finance capital of the GCC.

Qatar has allocated US$2 billion to building a new financial centre to rival Dubai’s financial district. According to Bloomberg, the move is set to attract multi-national companies to Qatar which is likely to develop Doha into the finance capital of the region.

Free offices and tax incentives

Yousuf Al Jaida, chief executive officer of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, said companies that set up a hub in Doha will be provided free offices and tax incentives as well as seed capital to cover five years of operating expenses in return for a commitment of at least a decade.

Al Jaida told Bloomberg TV that Qatar’s financial hub is aiming to launch the incentive plan in the first quarter of 2019, once all the governance structures have been put in place.

“It’s there, ready to be tapped, sitting in a bank account under government supervision,” he said. “We expect every single QFC company to have full access to government tenders and have unlimited access to the local market be it corporate and retail.”

The move comes after Qatar pushes forward with its focus on self-sufficiency following the Saudi-led siege. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt joined Saudi Arabia in cutting economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar in June last year. The quartet accused the country of financing and supporting terrorism and having close ties with Iran. Qatar denies the allegations.

Saudi Arabia and UAE have similar plans

Experts state Doha’s latest move is a step toward taking on its neighbors in the GCC by attracting overseas investment and growing into a large financial hub. However, Qatar will have some stiff competition as Saudi Arabia and the UAE are both planning on using the same tactics, including rules to relax company ownership and grant foreigners permanent residencies.

QFC is hoping to attract companies from Kuwait, Oman and Iraq as well as firms looking to participate in the reconstruction of Syria and some South East Asian countries.

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Author

Ahmed Naser is a UK-based journalist with a deep understanding of the Middle East. Ahmed is a contributor to a wide range of regional publications in the Middle East. He works across print and digital media as a freelance editor and writer.

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