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Tue 15 Mar 2016 07:27 PM

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Qatar to pass law on public-private partnerships by end-2016

Legislation is part of efforts to boost its fledgling private sector and ease the strain on government finances

Qatar to pass law on public-private partnerships by end-2016

Qatar aims to enact a law covering the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) by the end of 2016, part of efforts to boost its fledgling private sector and ease the strain on government finances caused by low oil prices.

Qatar's ministry of economy and commerce will submit a draft PPP law to the cabinet by August, Saud al-Attiyah, an official at the ministry, said on Tuesday.

"We hope to have the framework completed and start implementing the law by the end of the year," he said at a financial conference in Doha.

In PPPs, private investors take stakes in projects along with the government, bearing part of the risk and sharing profits.

Qatar has used the structure in the utility and oil and gas sectors - in 2015, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corp signed a contract with a Japanese-led consortium to develop a $3 billion water and power project - but the new law would make PPPs easier to operate and expand their use into other sectors.

The country is spending tens of billions of dollars on projects to upgrade its infrastructure and prepare to host the 2022 World Cup. Attiyah said the new PPP framework would present opportunities in 2016 and 2017 for the private sector in sport, health and education, including a PPP programme to build between 10 and 12 public schools.

Several other countries in the Gulf are also trying to develop PPPs to support state finances in an era of cheap oil.

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