(MENAFN - The Peninsula) No foreign companies are leaving Qatar and on the contrary, more and more firms, especially from the neighbouring states, are keen to enter the booming Qatari market, says a leading businessman.
Ahmed Al Khalaf was reacting to reports in a section of the media suggesting that delays in the launch of mega projects linked to the 2022 World Cup are driving some foreign companies out.
"Some media organisations are not presenting the right picture about Qatar," Al Khalaf told The Peninsula yesterday. "The mega multi-billion dollar projects that Qatar must execute for the 2022 and other events are real and they are being launched in a gradual and strategic manner," he added.
"Companies from the neighbouring countries are, in fact, desperate to enter into tie-ups with local firms."
Al Khalaf said the problem actually was that only serious and experienced foreign companies and their local partners stood a chance of bagging mega projects. That makes the smaller, less experienced and non-serious players jealous, so it is natural for them to say things that are not true, he said.
Told about a report that appeared in Alarabia.net yesterday quoting a Qatari businessman, Sheikh Fahad bin Hamad Al Thani, as saying that the launch of mega infrastructure projects was being delayed and that was prompting foreign companies to leave, Al Khalaf said it was not true.
"No company which is experienced and serious would leave the Qatari market. In fact, foreign companies, particularly from the region, are making a beeline to make a foray in the local market," he said.
Some mega projects have already been launched and the others would be launched by the year-end, according to Al Khalaf.
"These are big projects and need to be launched with careful and strategic planning. They can't simply be launched overnight."
Another businessman who didn't want his name in print, echoing similar sentiments, said those who are talking of delays in project launch are people who are not serious about doing business and don't know a thing about mega projects.
"It is quite shocking that such reports should appear in foreign media to soil Qatar's image right a day after Qatar presented its bid for 2020 Olympics," said the businessman. "It's quite clear that such media reports have ulterior motive."
It should be a slap in the face of those who are talking of delays in project launch as many big projects are already underway such as the Doha Port, new airport, Lusail city projects, among others.
"Then, today the Qatar Railways Development Company is all set to invite bids for five major works. So what the talk of the critics is rubbish," the businessman said.
Moreover, Qatar has already bagged the 2022 event. It has presented bid for 2020 Olympics. FINA World Championships (swimming-short distance) are slated to be hosted here in February 2014.
Then again, World Handball Championships are scheduled to be held here in January of 2015. Qatar had also bid for the Athletic World Championships (2017) but list the bid.
And more importantly, one year before the World Cup 2022 fixture, Doha will host the Confederation Cup (in 2021).
"Do you think Qatar would have bagged the 2022 and other coveted events amidst fierce competition if it didn't have the ability to put the necessary infrastructure in place," asked the businessman.
"Why would have Qatar presented the bid for 2020 Olympics if it isn't serious about building the required infrastructure," he wondered. "I think those who are talking of delays in project launch are non-serious and incompetent people and fear that they might not bag any contracts linked to nay mega project. So they are jealous," said the businessman.
He said he was surprised that such talk should gain ground just a few weeks before the annual interface of businessmen with the Prime Minister is slated to be held. "Well, if a businessman has genuine grouse or questions, why go to the media. Wait for the PM's interface and put the question or doubts at that appropriate forum."
The projects are worth over a staggering 100bn so they need to be executed in a gradual manner and with careful and strategic planning, he added.