Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has inaugurated the Kochi branch of Doha Bank at LuLu International Shopping Mall in Edapally, it was announced.
Present during the occasion were LuLu Group International managing director MA Yusuffali, Doha Bank chairman Sheikh Fahad bin Mohamed bin Jabor al-Thani, Doha Bank managing director Sheikh Abdul Rehman bin Mohamed bin Jabor al-Thani, Doha Bank board members, executive management, senior Kerala government officials, dignitaries from Qatar, as well as prominent local corporate officials.
As part of the inauguration, major investors and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Kerala and the GCC, as well as Doha Bank officials participated in the “Kerala-Qatar Investment Opportunities” investors conference.
During the event, Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman highlighted Qatar’s economy and major bilateral relationships with India: “Qatar’s economy is expected to rise by 3.9% in 2016. Construction is expected to lead growth in 2016 and is projected to expand by 9.9%. The GCC-India bilateral trade is close to $100bn in 2015-16 out of which Qatar-India bilateral trade is close to $10bn.”
According to Seetharaman, there is a large market for Qatar’s liquefied natural gas (LNG), oil, and petrochemical sectors in India. In December 2015, he said RasGas Company and Petronet LNG entered into a binding sale and purchase agreement (SPA) for the supply of an additional 1mn tonnes per annum of LNG to India starting in 2016.
“RasGas delivered an LNG cargo to India’s Petronet at its new LNG Terminal located in Kochi. In May 2013, Qatar bought a 5% stake in Indian telecom company, Bharti Airtel, for $1.26bn. Many Indian companies such as L&T, Tata Projects, Voltas, and Punj Lloyd have been actively participating in the various projects in Qatar,” he said.
Seetharaman said the Indian economy is expected to grow by 7.4% in 2016-17. He noted that the drop in oil prices could ease the pressure on India’s current account deficit and fiscal deficit.
India’s consumer prices rose 6.07% from a year earlier in July 2016, he said, adding that the country had cleared the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill recently and expects it to be fully implemented by April 1, 2017.
“Kerala has aimed at an average growth rate 9.5% 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-enabled services, manufacturing, and mining. Rs5,000crore has been allotted for infrastructure projects in the recent state budget.
“The SmartCity project in Kochi is expected to be completed by 2020.The State Tourism Department is developing eco-friendly, rural tourism packages in Kumarakom, Wayanad, Kovalam, and Muziris heritage circuit. The electronic hub proposed at Kochi is a prestigious project of the Government of Kerala to promote electronic hardware manufacturing and assembling units and research and development centres, and to support infrastructure for the same,” Seetharaman said.
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