The Peninsula – On November 6th, 2018, HH the Amir of Qatar inaugurated the 47th Ordinary Session of the Advisory Council, Qatar’s legislative body. HH Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani offered an optimistic, forward-looking vision of the country and its future. Below are key excerpts from the speech:
It gives me pleasure to meet with you on this auspicious annual occasion of opening a new session of your esteemed Council, marking the beginning of a new legislative term in which our constitutional institutions will proceed with assuming their responsibilities to reach the goals we have set for ourselves .
Brief review of the past year:
Since our last meeting, which took place under the circumstances that you know, Qatar’s economic invulnerability against external tremors has been boosted and our self-reliance has increased, the bonds with our allies have become stronger than before, and our relations with most of the world countries have developed.
Qatar’s national development is rooted in its character and accomplishments:
Most importantly, the Qataris have become more committed to the ethics they are famous for, and their awareness and realization of the scale of their country’s accomplishments and the importance of national sovereignty and independence of our political decision, under which these accomplishments were achieved, have been deepened.
Qatar’s economy has diversified, and has seen an impressive 4% growth rate in non-hydrocarbon sectors, as well as an 18% export increase:
A drop in our hydrocarbon GDP was coupled with about 4% growth in GDP from other sources, thus reflecting the role of economic diversification as an important growth component.
Exports increased by 18%, leading to a significant improvement in the public budget, trade balance and current account. The banking system retrieved in less than ten months the level of indicators that prevailed before the blockade, while the level of some of them became even better.
In addition, Qatar Central Bank regained its reserve level, and the Qatari Riyal has maintained its value and free circulations noteworthy that the number of factories operating in the State has increased by about 14% after the blockade, and these factories managed to achieve a great deal of self-sufficiency in some food products and consumables.
Water and food security are at the top of Qatar’s national priorities:
We are striding at a steady pace to achieve water and food security and to secure sufficient electrical energy to push forward the development drive and meet its requirements. This megaproject will increase Qatar’s electricity production by about 30% and water desalination by about 40%.
Cutting government spending has been complimented increased by private sector spending:
Government consumption expenditure this year decreased by around 20% from the previous year while household spending increased by 4%. It is expected that this policy will lead to a public budget surplus this year, and that this surplus will increase in the coming years.
Social contributions and national unity are paramount to Qatar’s success:
We have achieved great and rapid progress in nation-building, living standard and human development in health and education. We have many challenges ahead in these areas, and we have to ascertain commitment to the work ethics and the act of giving to the society. In this context, we also confirm the importance of national service and its role in building the youth of this country.
HH the Emir’s closing remarks:
In conclusion, I would like to point out that preparations for the election of the Legislative Council are underway at the level of the ministerial and experts committees.