DOHA, April 24: Doha Bank hosted a knowledge sharing session on “Changing dynamics and market opportunities” on 19th April 2016 at JW Marriot Hotel, Kuwait. The key speakers at the event include Dr Hamad Al Hasawi, General Secretary of Kuwait Banking Association, Aninda Banerji, Chief Financial Officer at City Group Co, Faris Al Anizi, Relationship Manager & Chief of Operations, Oil and Gas, KCC and Lokesh Malhotra, Owner of Al Zahem Malhotra Co. The event was also attended by well-known Kuwait businessmen, senior Kuwaiti bankers and leaders from key corporates in Kuwait.
Dr R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank gave insight on global economy. He said “The recent IMF outlook had given forecast for global growth at 3.2 percent in 2016. Growth in advanced economies is projected to remain modest, in line with 2015 outcomes at 1.9 percent this year. The United States saw its 2016 growth forecast cut to 2.4 percent. Emerging and developing economies are expected to grow at 4.1 percent this year. The global economy was increasingly vulnerable to downside risks including further market turmoil in the wake of this year’s China-led downturn.”
Dr R. Seetharaman highlighted on Kuwait economy. He said “The fall in oil prices had impacted the growth on GCC economies and the recent IMF forecast reflects the same. Kuwait economy is expected to grow by 2.4% this year. Kuwait has more than 70 months coverage of current account payments and about 375% coverage of the monetary base. The government has introduced a limited number of measures to mitigate the impact of low oil prices on its economy such as a partial fuel subsidy reform in early 2015. Kuwait is looking to introduce VAT in 2018 in co-ordination with other Gulf States. “
Dr R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar-Kuwait bilateral relationships and opportunities in Kuwait. He said “Joint investments between Qatar and Kuwait amounted to more than $7 billion across the different sectors. Trade exchange in 2015 amounted to around US$250 million between Qatar and Kuwait. Qatar and Kuwait signed agreements in 2016 in various fields such as air transport, media and education. Kuwait has announced plans to develop 30 major infrastructure projects worth $11.3bn. The Second Kuwait Development Plan gives impetus to infrastructure development. Kuwait could remain focused on boosting public-private partnerships. Building a vibrant ecosystem for SME development is seen as critical to promoting long-term economic diversification in Kuwait.”
Aninda Banerji, Chief Financial Officer at City Group Co gave insight on reforms proposed by Kuwait Government such as introduction of taxes and subsidy rationalization and the impact of such reforms on corporates and consumers of Kuwait economy. He highlighted that Kuwait is considering several transformative reforms such as improving ease of doing business and would encourage companies to expand their scope of operations and geographies. He also provided insight on benefits offered by Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority.
Lokesh Malhotra, owner of Al Zahem Malhotra Co gave insight on changing dynamics such as low oil prices, growing population, scarcity of resources like water and increase in pollution, tougher regulations and shift of family business to next generation. The growing population will result in demand for infrastructure projects, demand for electricity, parking solutions and childcare. There could be tighter credit conditions and opportunities for Mergers and Acquisitions. There may also be opportunities for succession planning in family run business.