1) the real estate sector
The Government of Qatar recently issued a new legislation to regulate the real estate sector in Qatar mainly the sale of units in projects that are under construction (Off Plan Units).
Key provisions of the real estate development law include licenses for developers, issuance of strata title, sale of off-plan units, escrow account and the establishment of real estate dispute resolution committee.
The Law requires that any entity carrying out real estate development must obtain a specific license from the designated department of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.
The Real Estate Department at the Ministry of Justice will establish and maintain an interim register for recording details of strata title. The details of each Off Plan Unit will be recorded in the Interim Register including the details of each transaction (sale, purchase, judgment, mortgage) relating to that Off Plan Unit.
The new law also requires that the developer open an escrow account for each project. The purchase price paid by customers for purchasing Off-Plan Units is to be deposited directly into the Escrow Account. In addition, the proceeds of any financing obtained for the project is also required to be deposited into the escrow account.
Yet, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce will establish a Real Estate Dispute Resolution Committee to hear disputes arising from the Real Estate Development Law and from real estate projects. The Real Estate Development Law comes into effect six months from the date of said law being published in the official gazette.
2) Iconic Kempinski hotel soon in Qatar
Alfardan Hospitality and Kempinski Hotels announced that they have partnered to bring an iconic hotel development to Qatar. The development, Marsa Malaz Kempinski - The Pearl, Doha, is designed as an architectural landmark overlooking The Pearl, Qatar, and the Arabian Gulf, and is anticipated to set new hospitality benchmarks as well as to further enhance Qatar's image as a world class destination.
Conceived to be the ultimate waterfront hotel destination in the region, this world-class private island development, spanning over 46,450 m2, will go beyond offering five-star luxury service by providing guests an extraordinary island experience in Qatar. Set to open in Q4 2014, the development blends the authentic Qatari culture and Arabian hospitality with a Venetian concept highlighted in the overall architecture of the development.
Marsa Malaz Kempinski – The Pearl Doha is the second project to be undertaken by Alfardan Hospitality in partnership with renowned international hospitality group Kempinski Hotels, the first being the development and management of the Kempinski Residences and Suites.
Upon completion, Marsa Malaz Kempinski is expected to be a true tourism attraction for Qatar, in line with the recently announced strategy of Qatar Tourism Authority's (QTA) Qatar National Vision 2030 and the National Development Strategy 2011-2016 for the country's tourism sector.
3) Labor force hits 1.55 million
The economically active labor force in Qatar has increased by four percent to 1.55 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to 1.48 milion in the third quarter of the year, according to a Labor Force Sample Survey released by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics.
The survey provides data that serve the Special Data Dissemination Standard, launched by International Monetary Fund, to underline data transparency to help follow up financial and economic conditions of the countries participating in the initiative.
Economic dependency amounted to 32 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, with a slight decrease compared to the third quarter of the year which recorded 34 percent.
The working-age population (15 years and above) amounted to 1.8 million. The Qatari working-age population (15 years and above) stood at 181,000 or 10 percent of total working-age population.
The Qatari labor force included 96,000 economically active people, of whom 67 percent are males.
The monthly average salary of the working male population rose to QR10,000 and of females to QR8,000.
Job-seekers for more than one year reached 24 percent of the unemployed — from 16 percent in the second quarter and 23 percent in the third quarter.
4) Tourism an important economic driver for Qatar
Qatar tourism industry continued its upward trajectory in 2013, benefiting from new investment and promotion as per Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). Based on the performance in 2013, the sector is on track to reach growth targets set out in the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy, both in terms of contribution to the economy and in overall visits. The past year's data incorporates a wider set of statistics, adding to the quality of the information which is aiding in the planning, development and promotion of this sector of Qatar's economy.
During 2013, Qatar welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors from around the world, compared to 1.2 million in the corresponding period last year. Regional visitors increased by 14 percent, with the greatest volumes from Saudi Arabia followed by UAE, with Kuwait continuing its high growth rate at over 35 percent compared to the last quarter of 2012. International arrivals increased by 9 percent, with an increase in business arrivals from Asia at 14 percent.
The largest source of tourists remains the GCC region with 1,090,239 visitors; followed by Asia (152,476 visitors), Europe (35,861 visitors), non-GCC Arab countries (34,093 visitors), and Africa (4,045 visitors), arriving on either business or tourist visas.
5) Qatar to invest $1.1 billion in new healthcare facilities
Qatar will be investing more than QR4 billion ($1.1 billion) over the next five years to build and equip hospitals and medical cities. Actually, Qatar had spent QR 51.3 billion ($14.1 billion) on the health sector over the last decade.
According to Ibteihaj al-Ahmadani, head of the Health Committee at Qatar Chamber, the health sector in the country has witnessed the largest increase in provisions during the current year compared to the previous one as it registered a 63% increase.
Qatar spends about $1,900 per capita on healthcare, one of the largest in the world, while the per capita allocation in the neighboring countries does not exceed $900 and in the developing countries it is just $150.
Qatar had become an attractive point for global medical companies because of the increasing awareness of patients in the country and their eagerness to get medical services from the best hospitals in the world.
6) Qatar to invest $182.5 billion in infrastructure
Qatar will invest around QR664bn ($182.5) billion in infrastructure, excluding projects in oil and gas sector in the next five years, said H. E. Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, the Minister of Economy and Trade. He added that there were 432 construction companies operating in the country with an investment worth $10.4bn. Those companies employ roughly 37,000 people, he said, stressing meantime the important role the construction sector is playing as the country prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
H.E. Sheikh Ahmed also praised the state for being able to lay the foundations of sustainable economic development, a main component of Qatar National Vision 2030. He added that a wise management of Qatari economy will require increasing competition and attract more investment to stimulate growth.
The minister said that the outlook for the construction sector in Qatar was very promising, particularly because construction projects play an important part in the Gulf region in general.
7) Greek Ellaktor and India's L&T win $4.4 billion Doha Metro contract
Greece's biggest construction group Ellaktor has signed a 3.2 billion euro ($4.4bn) contract within a consortium that includes Yapi Merkezi Insaat - Turkey, STFA Group - Turkey and Al Jaber Engineering - Qatar to build a subway line in Qatar as part of the Doha Metro project.
The $4.4bn contract also includes the design and construction of the Gold Line of the Doha Metro which was awarded to India's heavy Civil Infrastructure Business of Larsen & Toubro Construction. The value of the order that went to L&T is estimated $740 million.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 54 months. The contract includes the design and construction of twin tunnels for an approximate length of 11km and nine underground metro stations including architectural finishes and mechanical, electrical and plumbing works. The project is among the key infrastructure projects of national interest as per the Qatar National Vision 2030.