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Chapter | Trade & Investment from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2020

The revenue raised from outgoing shipments of oil fund the government’s social and infrastructural programmes, and are therefore central to the Kingdom’s economy. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 has slowed economic activity and reduced investor sentiment around the world, thus its effect on the Kingdom’s trading activity and inward investment is yet to be seen. However, the process of legislative and regulatory reform that has altered the nation’s trading and investment landscape in recent years is expected to continue to long-term benefit. The government’s goal, according to Vision 2030, is to rank within the top-20 countries on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index – a feat that will require additional revision and innovation in the decade to come.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2020

Four years after the launch of Saudi Arabia’s comprehensive development strategy, Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s non-oil economy is starting to see the benefits of sustained reform. Any decrease in revenue caused by lower oil prices is a significant challenge and presents a downside risk for the economy. Actions taken by the government to mitigate the effects of both the depressed oil price scenario and Covid-19 in the first half of 2020 are substantial. These will support non-oil growth and ensure a social safety net for citizens in the short term, while in the longer term the Kingdom’s increasingly diverse economy is expected to benefit from the implementation of Vision 2030 objectives. This chapter contains interviews with Fahd Al Rasheed, President, Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC); Anas Alfaris, President, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST); and Saad bin Othman Al Kasabi, Governor, Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organisation (SASO).

Chapter | Tax from The Report: Qatar 2020

On December 13, 2018 Qatar repealed the decade-long Income Tax Law (Law No. 21 of 2009) and issued the new Income Tax Law (Law No. 24 of 2018). Executive regulations (ERs) implementing Law No. 24 of 2018 were published on December 11, 2019. Highlights have been prepared based on the ERs accompanying Law No. 24 of 2018. The new ERs contain substantive changes covering the determination of taxable income, withholding tax application, exemption of Qatar/GCC natural persons, subsidiaries of listed entities and transfer pricing. The effective date of these new ERs was the day after their issuance in the Official Gazette: December 12, 2019. This chapter contains a viewpoint from Sultan Hassan Al Dosari, Chairman; and Alamgir Khan, Deputy Chairman, Grant Thornton Qatar.

Chapter | Retail from The Report: Qatar 2020

In response to the blockade imposed by some of its neighbours in June 2017 Qatar has expanded its trading relationships, particularly with Iran, Turkey and Russia. The country has also promoted its own domestic industries to help surmount limitations on imports. As a result, the retail sector has shifted towards locally produced goods, especially in food and luxury segments. The supply of retail space has risen, supporting Qatar’s reputation as a regional shopping centre. While there are issues such as an oversupply of commercial space, the change in the foreign direct investment law and the 2022 FIFA World Cup position Qatar well for medium-term growth. This chapter contains interviews with Bader Al-Darwish, Chairman and Managing Director, Fifty One East; and Khaled Sam Hosn, CEO, Mall of Qatar.

Chapter | Health from The Report: Qatar 2020

The development of new facilities is set to continue in the coming years, with a raft of new hospitals and clinics under way across the country in order to meet growing demand for medical services. Another key focus in 2020 will be on the government’s ongoing plans for a national health insurance scheme. The role that this new law envisions for private sector operators will be a determinant of investment and growth potential, particularly as pressure on the public sector continues to rise with the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases and the more recent threat posed by Covid-19. This chapter contains an interview with Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health and Managing Director, Hamad Medical Corporation.

Chapter | Education & Research from The Report: Qatar 2020

Qatar’s education sector has a rich mixture of state and independent kindergartens, schools and universities bolstered by continued investment aimed at serving a growing population and supporting the country’s economic development. Education administrators pay close attention to international standards and indices that measure student learning outcomes and are working through a five-year reform programme to enhance the performance of schools and universities. Dedicated efforts by the government focused on improving learning outcomes and global rankings among primary and secondary school students, in addition to the influx of an array of international universities, are set to ensure the sector’s sustained growth over the medium term. This chapter contains an interview with Abdul Sattar Al Taie, Executive Director, Qatar National Research Fund.

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