1.Qatar Economic Zone over 42 square kilometers
Education City is working to build two parts of Qatar Economic Zone which will be spread over 42 km2. The first part of the zone will be located on Doha Expressway. It will house industries for modern technology, air cargo, food industries, tools and instruments, commercial offices and assembling units for logistic services, The other part of the zone will have industrial units related to logistic services, mining, petrochemicals, construction materials, machines and tools and vehicle parts manufacturers. Education City will also have three huge car parking facilities being built by Qatar Foundation. The parking facilities will have capacity to accommodate around 8,000 cars and will also have underground parking. It will be spread over an area of 100,000 m2. The first parking facility will be spread over an area of 35,200 m2 and will be four-storeyed. It will have a capacity to accommodate 3,160 cars and will have automatic systems to manage traffic inside. The parking lot is expected to be ready by the end of this year. The second parking lot will be underground and will be spread over an area of 47,000 m2. This two-storey facility will have the capacity to accommodate 1,640 cars.
The third parking facility will be spread over an area of 35,200 m2. This will have four floors with a capacity to accommodate 2,960 cars. There will be a transport service to carry people to their car parking. Education City will also have a three-star hotel which is expected to be ready by the end 2015. There will also be health centers, retail shops, office spaces, children play areas, and prayer rooms in the city.
2. Marriott Marquis city center Doha hotel
Qatar's Al Rayyan Tourism and Investment, a hospitality subsidiary of Al Faisal Holding, launched a new hotel brand in Doha's West Bay district. Three hotels - the Renaissance Doha, Courtyard Doha and Marriott Executive Apartments Doha - will be merged and rebranded as the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel.
The five-star Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel will be directly connected to the City Center Mall with around 340 stores, and will have 580 guest rooms. The property has 17 meeting rooms. During the first half of the year, Doha hotels saw occupancy rates rise 11.4 percentage points to 75.9 percent year-on-year, as the average room rates declined 5.3% to $219.53, according to TRI Hospitality Consulting Middle East.
3. $268 million supply deals for Qatar water reservoirs
French building materials company Saint Gobain PAM has announced that it has won two deals worth €200 million ($268.7 million) to supply pipes for five mega-reservoirs in Qatar.
The products, which will be made by Saint Gobain in France and shipped to Qatar, will be used on Qatar's plan to build five "security mega-reservoirs" across the country to ensure it has an emergency supply of drinking water capable of lasting at least seven days. The project was initiated by Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa), with Hyder providing design and site supervision assistance, Construction Week Online reported. Tenders to build five out of nine proposed reservoirs at Umm Birka, Umm Slal, Al Thumama, Rawdhat Rashid and Abu Nakhla, were floated in April. The works packages also include materials supply, construction, testing and commissioning of the reservoirs, pipework, mechanical, electrical, ICA (instrumentation, control and automation), civil, structural and architectural works. Pumping stations are also being built from the Ras Abu Fontas and Facility D desalination plants to the south of Doha to the RasLaffan desalination plants in the north of Qatar. The reservoirs are being linked by a 200km-long network of large diameter ring mains. A fast-track design, procurement and construction sequence has been initiated with a view to the project being completed in 2017.
4. Qatar seeking growth through fertilizers
Qatar is well on the way to becoming one of the world's leading producers of chemical fertilizers, steadily developing new capacity and new markets as it works to diversify its economy away from its primary dependence on energy sales, indicates an OBG report. Currently, oil and natural gas production accounts for around 60% of Qatar's gross domestic product (GDP) and up to 85% of its export earnings according to OPEC.
Doha has long recognized the need to diversify away from dependency on a single product to underpin its economy, and has been investing extensively in downstream petrochemical industries. According to data from the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) and revealed by OBG, Qatar accounts for around 35% of all fertilizer production in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) bloc. This figure is set to rise sharply by the end of the decade as the Emirate brings more capacity on line through the expansion of existing facilities and the opening of new plants. The GPCA has estimated Qatar's fertilizer output will reach 29.5m tons – 13m tons of ammonia and 16.5m tons of urea – by 2020, more than double the country's present production levels.
This rate of increase is likely to outstrip that of production rises across the rest of the region, with the GPCA forecasting installed capacity to increase by 47% from 2012 levels to reach 46.6 million tons by 2018 across the GCC bloc. This growth, fuelled by $10bn or more worth of new developments, would produce 10% year-on-year production expansion.
While Qatar will be leading the way with capacity expansion, the anticipated pace of growth may not be matched by global demand. The GPCA has projected that global fertilizer demand will rise by a more modest 1.8% a year through to 2018 - just one of a number of factors that will make the operational environment more difficult in the coming years as it works to lock in new sales.
5. 2,400MW power and water plant in Umm Al Haul
Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) is to expand its capacity with a new power and water plant. The company plans to build a new plant in Umm Al Haul with an installed capacity of 2,400MW of power and 130 million gallons of desalinated water per day. Qatar's current power generation capacity is around 8,700 MW, while the expected peak load during summer this year is about 6,800 MW.
6. Qatar unveils new 60,000-seater Al Bayt stadium for World Cup 2022
The Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor City, just over 30 miles north of the capital Doha, is expected to be ready by 2018, well ahead of schedule to host the tournament in eight years' time. Preliminary work has already begun on the extravagant arena, the design of which is based on Bayt Al Sha'ar, a traditional black-and-white tent used by nomadic people in Qatar. It follows the 40,000 Al Wakrah stadium as the second World Cup arena to be unveiled of a total of 10 before the tournament.
The area surrounding the venue will feature space for local businesses and restaurants, as well as landscaped paths to be used for exercise.A detachable upper tier will see the stadium's capacity downsized to 32,000-seater after the World Cup. The removed seats will be reconfigured and donated to other countries to leave a legacy for international football development. FIFA imposes a minimum requirement of eight stadiums for World Cup host countries, with at least one 80,000-seater to host the final.
7. Qatar to raise foreign ownership cap to 49%
Qatar is set to almost double its foreign ownership limit to 49 percent in a move that could bolster investment.In a decision approved by the Qatari government, non-Qatari investors may have a ratio of not more than 49 percent of the capital of sharing companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange, up from 25 percent.
Yet, GCC citizens will be treated like Qatari nationals in owning shares of companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE). Qatar was recently promoted to emerging market status by the MSCI. Gross domestic product growth in the world's top exporter of liquefied natural gas is forecast to hit 7.8 percent in 2015, its fastest rate since 2011, said the report of the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. It was 6.5 percent in 2013.
8. Advisory Council approves draft law on tax exemption for foreign investors
The Advisory Council has approved the draft law sent by the Cabinet to exempt foreigners trading in Qatari stocks from paying tax on capital gains and on income from dividends & interest on bonds, including Sukuk. The draft law applies to foreign investment, mutual and portfolio funds. Foreign companies and individuals with subscriptions to the funds could also avail tax exemption on earnings once the law is enforced. The Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the council prepared a report on the draft law after the council asked it to have a fresh look at it. The committee had originally asked the council to approve the draft law, but the council raised some objections and referred the draft back to it. The committee in its fresh report recommended the approval of the draft.
9. Qatari banks geared up to boost capital base in line with Basel III norms
Qatar's banking industry is geared up to strengthen its capital base in line with the new Basel III norms. Given the expected increase in the capital adequacy ratio (CAR), many lenders are now contemplating moves to enhance their capital either through rights issue or hybrid routes. The Qatar Central Bank, which has already stipulated a higher 12.5% Basel III CAR from the previous level of 10%, is expected to increase it further to 14% by 2015 and ensure adequate "cushioning", while the lenders go in for funding the major infrastructure projects, which are being announced in the run-up to Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The final Basel III circular for capital, liquidity, and leverage ratios was issued in January 2014.
10. Qatar announces further labor reforms
Qatar's government has approved some measures to improve the treatment of foreign workers following international criticism over the past year, as the Gulf state gears up to host the 2022 World Cup. They include a requirement that companies set up bank accounts for workers and pay wages electronically and a ban on mid-day outdoor work in the summer heat. Qatar has the highest proportion of migrant workers per population in the world. The country's population jumped 9% in the first quarter as companies hired thousands of laborers to work on World Cup-related infrastructure projects. Among the measures, companies will have to pay wages within seven days of the due date or else face a sanction. The government did not say what that penalty would be. Outdoor work between 11:30am and 3pm in the hot summer months from mid-June until the end of August is also banned. And the government has agreed to launch an electronic complaint system and is building accommodation to accommodate up to 150,000 workers.