The Department of Finance (DoF) on Wednesday said Qatar could explore the tourism, logistics,
pharmaceutical, and housing sectors in the Philippines once the planned Manila visit of a business delegation from the Middle East country pushes through.
In a statement, the DoF announced that a delegation from the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) will visit Manila in September to scout for business deals following the successful visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to the Gulf state last month.
The QIA, the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, manages and invests the state’s revenue surplus in multibillion dollar investment deals across the globe.
It said Qatar Ambassador to Manila Ali Ibrahim A. I. Al-Malki informed Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd of the scheduled visit during a recent meeting.
Dominguez informed the ambassador that the QIA can explore investments in such fields as tourism and logistics, the DoF said.
“There are many areas where we need tourism facilities. We will welcome investments from your fund in that area,” Dominguez was quoted as saying.
“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 pharmaceutical industry and the housing sector.
The QIA delegation will likely meet the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other business groups, the DoF said.
In the meeting, Dominguez also discussed with the ambassador the Philippine government’s preference for a hybrid public-private partnership (PPP) formula.
Under a 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.
Dominguez had said that adopting a hybrid formula is the fastest and most cost-effective way of utilizing the PPP mode.
The Qatar ambassador 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, the DoF said.
The Finance department also said the Qatar envoy extended his country’s thanks to the Philippine government for the “very successful” visit of President Duterte to the Middle East in 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.
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.
Besides the “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.