As part of the inauguration, an investors conference on `Kerala-Qatar Investment Opportunities’ was also held, which witnessed participation of major investors and SMEs from Kerala, the GCC and Doha Bank officials.
Dr R Seetharaman, CEO, Doha Bank, said: “The Indian economy is expected to grow by 7.4 percent in 2016-17. The drop in oil price could ease the pressure on India’s current account deficit and fiscal deficit. India’s consumer prices rose 6.07 percent from a year earlier in July 2016. India had cleared the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill recently and expects it to be fully implemented by 1 April, 2017.”
He stated: “Kerala has aimed at an average growth rate of 9.5 percent in 2016-17. Its strategic location on the trans-national trade corridor, rich natural resources and simple and transparent procedures make the state favourably suited for investments in major sectors such as tourism, IT/ITeS, manufacturing and mining.”
The state tourism department is developing eco-friendly, rural tourism packages in the Kumarakom, Wayanad, Kovalam and Muziris heritage circuit. The electronic hub proposed at Kochi is a prestigious project of the Kerala government to promote electronic hardware manufacturing and assembling units and R&D centres and to support infrastructure for the same, he said.
Seetharaman said: “Qatar’s economy expected to rise by 3.9 percent in 2016. Construction is expected to lead growth in 2016 and is projected to expand by 9.9 percent. GCC-India bilateral trade is close to USD 100 billion in 2015-16 out of which Qatar- India bilateral trade is close to USD 10 bn. Many Indian companies such as L&T, Tata Projects, Voltas and Punj Lloyd have been actively participating in various projects in Qatar.”
Speaking on GCC SMEs, he said: “In the UAE, SMEs contribute to over 60 percent of GDP and provide around 86 percent of employment in the private sector. SMEs can participate in Qatar’s non-hydrocarbon diversification. Kerala has identified various SME clusters for its development. Kerala’s SME and IT sectors can contribute to its economic growth better.”