MANILA, May 17, 2017 — A delegation from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is set to visit the Philippines in September to scout for possible business deals here, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s successful visit to the Gulf state last month.
According to a statement issued Wednesday, Qatar Ambassador to the Philippines 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 Duterte’s “very successful” visit 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 US$1 billion in possible investments from Qatar through the QIA.
Dominguez informed the envoy 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,” he added.
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 the visit pushes through.
Ambassador Ali also said he is planning to organize a tourism expo in Qatar showcasing the Philippines, as Qataris do not know much about the country as a tourist destination as they do the other Southeast Asian countries.
During the meeting, Dominguez discussed with the envoy the Philippine government’s preference for a hybrid Public-Private Partnership (PPP) formula.
Under the 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 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 USD206 million in business deals from Qatar, the two countries also signed during President Duterte’s April visit agreements on cultural cooperation; health and research; and technical-vocational education and training. (DOF)