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Qatar's infra projects offer opportunity aplenty

Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman said that India's corporate companies and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector have the opportunity to participate in Qatar's ongoing infrastructure development, as there are opportunities aplenty.

Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector have the opportunity to participate in Qatar's ongoing infrastructure development, as there are opportunities aplenty.
Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector have the opportunity to participate in Qatar's ongoing infrastructure development, as there are opportunities aplenty.

Qatar's ongoing infrastructure development is brimming with opportunity for India's corporate companies and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector.

In a speech during a recent business meeting hosted by Doha Bank at the Taj Coromandel Ballroom in Chennai, Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman highlighted the significant contribution of the SME sector to GCC economies.

"The state of Tamil Nadu is home to a large number of SMEs. A significant attraction for Indian SMEs to do business in the Gulf is the ability to procure cost-effective funds. Qatar's economy is vibrant on account of the non-hydrocarbon diversification, which is giving a boost to its project and SME sectors.

"Hence, opportunities are there for Tamil Nadu corporates and SMEs to participate in infrastructure development in Qatar. On the whole, synergistic opportunities exist between Qatar and Tamil Nadu in the areas of infrastructure development and SMEs," Seetharaman explained.

SMEs in the UAE contribute more than 60% to its GDP and provide 86% of the employment in the private sector, he noted.

During the meeting, which was supported by the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Chennai, he added: "SMEs can participate in Qatar's non-hydrocarbon diversification."

Seetharaman outlined that Tamil Nadu is the fourth largest state in India and "is the second largest contributor to India's GDP. It is a global industrial and manufacturing hub with a large number of industries and SMEs".

He added that the region is one of the leading states "in attracting foreign direct investment in India and has made tremendous progress in its efforts to provide a stable and hassle-free business environment to investors.

"The Tamil Nadu government's 'Vision 2023' strategic plan for infrastructure development envisions infrastructure investment worth $250bn, and GCC sovereign investors can look forward to participating in this initiative as part of their global diversification strategy."

Bilateral trade between Qatar and India in 2014-15 stood at around $16bn, while overall trade between GCC and India during the same period totalled $133bn.

He also highlighted Qatar's LNG plays a vital role in helping India meet its energy needs, as it is "the largest supplier of LNG to India", the Gulf Times reports.

Seetharaman said that in May 2013, Qatar bought a 5% stake in Indian telecom company Bharti Airtel for $1.26bn, and many Indian companies such as L&T, Tata Projects, Voltas, and Punj Lloyd have been actively participating in various projects in Qatar.

He also noted that projects worth more than $170bn are expected to be executed in the GCC in 2015: "Around $30bn worth of these GCC projects are expected to be undertaken in Qatar. The construction, transportation, and utilities sectors will witness significant activity this year hence, Indian companies can look forward to exploring opportunities in this segment."

The meeting, which carries the theme "Bilateral Opportunities between India, Qatar, and Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC)," was attended by Doha Bank head of International Banking Ganesan Ramakrishnan, Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry president SG Prabhakaran, Qatar Stock Exchange CEO Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori, Chemplast Sanmar deputy managing director Ramkumar Shankar, senior members of the chamber, and leading corporates from the state of Tamil Nadu.

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