A delegation from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is set to visit Manila possibly in September to scout for possible business deals here following the successful visit of President Duterte to the Gulf state last month.
Qatar Ambassador to Manila Ali Ibrahim A. I. Al-Malki informed Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III of the planned trip and extended his country’s thanks to the Philippine government for the “very successful” visit of President Duterte to the Middle East last April.
An investment protection and promotion agreement between the two countries, which took 10 years to finalize was signed during President Duterte’s visit, opening some $1 billion in possible investments from Qatar through the QIA.
Dominguez informed the Ambassador that the QIA can explore investments in such fields as tourism and logistics.
“There are many areas where we need tourism facilities. We will welcome investments from your fund in that area,” Dominguez said. “We are an archipelagic nation, so Qatar can also look into investing in logistics–shipping–here.”
Dominguez also said Qatar can invest in the pharmaceuticals industry and the housing sector.
The QIA, which serves as the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, manages and invests the state’s revenue surplus in various multi-billion dollar investment deals across the globe.
Qatar is the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas. According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, Qatar’s wealth fund is the 14th largest in the world.
Dominguez said he will help arrange meetings between the QIA delegation and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other business groups once this planned Manila visit pushes through.
The Ambassador also said he is planning on organizing a tourism expo in Qatar showcasing the Philippines, as Qataris do not know much about our country as a tourist destination as they do the other Southeast Asian countries.
In the meeting, Dominguez also discussed with the Ambassador the Philippine government’s preference for a hybrid Public-Private Partnership (PPP) formula.
Under this hybrid PPP mode, the government selects, finances and builds big-ticket projects through competitive public bidding and, upon completion, auctions off their operation and maintenance (O&M) to the private sector.
Adopting a hybrid formula is the fastest and most cost-effective way of utilizing the PPP mode in partly implementing the Duterte administration’s unmatched infrastructure buildup over the next five years, Dominguez said.
Besides an Agreement on Reciprocal Promotion and Protection and Investments, which secured for the Philippines an initial $206 million in business deals from Qatar, the two countries also signed during President Duterte’s April visit three other agreements on cultural cooperation; health and research; and technical-vocational education and training.