Ministry of Economy: working to support national companies| MENAFN.COM

Wednesday, 07 December 2022 05:46 GMT

Ministry of Economy: working to support national companies


(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The Ministry of Economy and Commerce highlighted the most significant achievements in 2017.
The ministry launched several initiatives aimed at strengthening the partnership between the public and private sectors, in order to encourage the private sector to contribute effectively to the national economy and support the national products.
The ministry also updated laws and regulations governing many economic sectors such as consumer, trade and investment.
In a report issued on Wednesday on the occasion of Qatar's National Day, the ministry said that the economic policies adopted by Qatar during the past years have succeeded in diversifying the sources of income and contributed to building one of the most important economies on the regional and global levels, thus embodying the role played by the private sector in strengthening the national economy in accordance with the approach set by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030 which aims at building a diversified and competitive knowledge-based economy, leading the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to expect the Qatari economy to grow by 3.1% in 2018, as well as a growth in non-oil GDP by 5.6% in 2017.
lMajor Economic Hub
Thanks to its economic policies, Qatar has provided a developed economic model that has established its position as a major economic hub in the region.
The state has succeeded in overcoming the various regional and global challenges, especially the challenges of the illegal siege imposed by the neighbouring countries, and laying the foundation for a new economic phase in which it will rely on its own capabilities, support of national products, and openness to various trading partners around the world, the Ministry said.
In this context, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce has launched several initiatives aimed at strengthening public-private partnership and encouraging the private sector to contribute effectively to the national economy and to support the national products.
The ministry has updated laws and regulations governing many economic sectors such as consumer, trade and investment.
In 2017, the ministry worked to support national companies, facilitate the flow of Qatari commodities and allow Qatari products to enter international markets.
In this context, HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani, and a number of officials at the ministry, held a series of meetings with representatives of the private sector and several government agencies, with the aim of developing and enhancing the means of benefiting from the international economic and trade agreements concluded by Qatar, and identifying the most important challenges and difficulties faced by Qatari producers at the local and international levels.
As part of its efforts to break the siege, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce announced that Qatar has lodged a formal complaint with the WTO dispute settlement body against the countries that have imposed the siege, for violating the WTO's core laws and conventions.
In parallel with these efforts, the ministry has spearheaded the National Product Support Initiative under the slogan 'Together to Support National Products, in co-operation with major commercial and consumer stores, to showcase the national products clearly in a prominent and easy-to-access display area labelled National Products.
In continuation of this initiative in support of the national products, the ministry, in co-operation with Al Meera Consumer Goods Company and BADAYA, has entered into a partnership that will allow emerging national companies to showcase and market their food and consumer products at the country's largest consumer outlets.
Other government bodies and institutions also played an integral role in supporting the national product initiative launched by the ministry through the implementation of several initiatives, exhibitions and forums in order to support and stimulate national products.
lFood Security
The Ministry said in its report that the state has made important strides in supporting plans related to food security.
In this regard, the ministry announced an initiative to establish four fish farming and aquaculture projects, in addition to a licence to establish four greenhouse farming projects.
The projects will be able to produce 80,000 tonnes per year of vegetables and fresh fruits, with a production rate of 20,000 tonnes per year for each project.
The project will reach its maximum production capacity within 5 years from the date of signing the contract.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce has been keen on organising and supporting the business sector in Qatar as one of the most important pillars of the economic diversification policy.
In this regard, the ministry has issued directives on the private shareholding companies concerning the terms of membership of the board of directors, the candidature, the rules of the members' remuneration and the obligations of the board of directors, as well as the rules of convening the general assemblies of shareholders, and the voting on the election of the members of the board of directors, in accordance with the provisions of the Commercial Companies Law No 11 of 2015.
As part of its efforts to provide all means of support to commercial companies in Qatar and to enhance the contribution of the private sector to economic development, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce has provided the opportunity for companies of all kinds to adjust their conditions and exempt them from the fees imposed on them.
lSingle Window Project
In order to support the business environment and encourage the SME sector, the government launched the single window project for investor services at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce to provide integrated and interconnected services, through which the client will be able to complete many transactions related to starting business and obtaining approvals for some business activities immediately without having to visit other institutions or wait.
In addition to these initiatives, the ministry has identified and facilitated the procedures and conditions of building permits for business centres to support small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.
The ministry also launched an e-initiative to grant licences for doing business in homes, in accordance with the decision of the Minister of Economy and Commerce No. (242) for the year 2016 on the terms, conditions and procedures for granting licences to conduct business in homes.
The ministry also announced an initiative to regulate the work of street vendors through the identification of permitted activities and the requirements, standards and conditions of the licensing, as part of its efforts to support entrepreneurs and small investors.
In addition, the ministry launched the seasonal market for camping accessories by allocating spaces in the Riffa area to effectively activate the commercial movement in the local market, support the economy and create a diversified environment that contributes to the growth of the commercial and private sector, in addition to providing the appropriate place for the Qatari merchant and productive families to display their products to the public.
In a related context, the Ministry of Economy and Trade launched an awareness initiative on the abuse of a dominant position in the market, in which it stressed the need for companies to adhere to the rules of fair competition.
l Public-Private Partnership
In 2017, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce sought to continue its efforts to support the private sector by launching initiatives dedicated to consolidating public-private partnerships.
The year saw the first outcome of the public-private partnership projects, with the announcement that the GWC Bu Sulba Warehousing Park is ready ahead of its opening and the operation of storage areas.
In addition, investment opportunities for the development and operation of private schools have been launched to encourage investment in the education sector.
Moreover, the project to transform the old Doha Exhibition Centre into a modern and integrated entertainment city has been announced in order to encourage investment in tourism projects.
The ministry organised workshops for investors in the development and operation of private schools and investors in the transformation project of the old Doha Exhibition Centre into a modern and integrated entertainment city.
During the workshops, investors were informed about the objectives and advantages of investment opportunities in the education and tourism sectors, and their importance at the economic and educational levels for the private sector.
The ministry's technical committee for the encouragement and participation of the private sector in economic development projects launched this year a public lottery to allocate 119 commercial mixed-use plots in the logistics areas (Al Wakrah, Birkat Al Awamer and Aba Saleel). These commercial plots provide opportunities for private sector investors to participate in the development of the commercial sector in these areas to establish exhibitions, shops, clinics, banks and restaurants.
In order to enhance the partnership between the public and private sectors, the ministry, in collaboration with Manateq company, has implemented logistics projects including the logistics area in Jari Al Samar and the logistics areas in the south of the country (Al Wakrah — Birkat Al Awamer and Aba Saleel). They will provide 8mn square meters of storage areas to cover the needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and ensure logistics services.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce is also working on projects to establish four warehouse areas; Bu Sulba Warehousing Park, Bu Fasseela, Umm Shahrain 1 and Umm Shahrain 2.
These projects will provide the market with 2mn square metres of storage space in 2018 to cover the needs of SMEs and provide storage services of varying areas and at competitive prices to suit their demands.
These projects will stimulate the private sector to invest significantly in this field.
In addition, the ministry sought to open new prospects for investors and owners of SMEs as well as all traders, and to remove their obstacles in order to carry out their business activities and complete their transactions easily.
To do that, the ministry strived to provide additional services in the framework of the smart e-services package for individuals and companies.
In this regard, the commercial agencies service was launched through the ministry's website.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce announced the development of a programme to issue licences for discounts and promotions through its website.
The new system allows applications to be submitted electronically to ensure quality and timely delivery of the services without having to be present at the ministry's premises.
The ministry also launched the electronic service of licensing, management and operation of bakeries.
The electronic services launched by the ministry in 2017 also include catering services that allow subsidy card holders to search for the addresses of distributors and access the goods available to each distributor.
lCommercial Licence
In parallel to its efforts to promote investment in Qatar, the ministry has taken the necessary measures to reduce the period of renewal of commercial licenses for shops, with investors now able to renew the licences immediately instead of the 48-hour previous duration.
In the field of intellectual property, the ministry launched the electronic patent registration service to the public and intellectual property agents through its website.
It also provided a service to issue a certificate of deposit and preservation of rights electronically to the public and intellectual property agents so as to provide an integrated electronic system of high quality for authors and rights holders, in addition to protecting their literary and artistic works in accordance with applicable laws and international conventions and treaties.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce provided an online trademark registration service for entrepreneurs in order to promote and empower owners of trademarks and intellectual property rights.
In an effort to enhance the protection and dissemination of intellectual property rights so as to achieve the intended benefits, the ministry organised in 2017 a number of lectures in celebration of the World Intellectual Property Day.
In the field of smart services, the ministry won the best smart application award for the ministerial sector at the Arab level for the second year in a row for its official smart phone application MEC Qatar.
The ministry also won the Digital Government Excellence Awards in Qatar, ranking second in the best service provider through mobile applications, and third best government website, besides getting the fourth place as the best service provider for the business sector.
In 2017, the ministry has endeavoured to continue its efforts to protect consumer rights by adopting a number of initiatives aimed at breaking monopoly, reducing prices and regulating markets.
In this regard, the ministry's standing committee for wholesale market management aimed to implement projects that develop markets.
The committee announced the opening of Umm Salal wholesale market to provide the basic needs of fish, vegetables, fruits and meat as well as many consumer goods and products.
The ministry announced in 2017 the completion of the implementation of the cabinet decision on excluding some commodities from the application of the provisions of Law No 8 of 2002 on regulating the business of commercial agents.
The ministry informed the commercial agencies of the amendment of the registration data for 35 foodstuffs and consumer goods included in the decision by removing these goods from the register of commercial agents at the ministry.
lMarket Regulation
In the area of market regulation, the ministry launched the 'Shop with Confidence initiative when announcing discounts and promotions in order to ensure transparency of business transactions and foster a climate of trust between suppliers and consumers in order to prevent any infringements and unauthorised or fake offers.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce issued a circular regulating the mechanism and policy of exchange and return of goods.
The circular included details of the different cases that give the consumer the right to replace the goods or return them for refund.
The ministry has obliged commercial establishments to Arabise invoices, service menus, goods details, and reception and communication services in order to support the right of the consumer to obtain the correct information and data on the goods and services provided to them.
As part of its efforts to brief the target groups of beneficiaries and distributors on their rights and duties in subsidised food commodities, the ministry highlighted Law No 5 of 2017 on organising the dealing in subsidised commodities through an awareness publication containing information and advice to raise awareness of the law that features new provisions aimed at regulating access to subsidised goods through designated sale points at commercial markets as well as regulating the circulation of subsidised goods in accordance with the highest quality standards.
To protect the rights of the consumer, the ministry launched an initiative of approved contracts for renting and equipping wedding halls and tents.
A series of consultation meetings were held with the majority of companies specialised in renting and equipping wedding halls and tents in order to discuss the recurring issues of dealing with clients, particularly in relation to payment, down-payment, postponement of the contracted ceremonies, cancellations and transfers.
As for the ministry's efforts to control the markets and ensure that suppliers comply with their obligations under Law No 8 of 2008 on consumer protection and its executive regulations, the ministry issued a circular to the agents and distributors of air conditioners on the regulation of the display, sale and warranty of air conditioners to comply with the ministry's policy to regulate practice in commercial activities in line with laws and regulations on the protection of basic consumer rights.
On consumer awareness and ensuring their right to access the correct information to make the proper decisions, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce issued a circular to all agents and distributors of vehicles in the country to comply with clearly labelling fuel efficiency on vehicles starting with 2017 models.
The label demonstrates the energy efficiency of vehicles through the fuel economy scale.
lAutomotive Sector
The ministry sought to continue its efforts to develop the automotive sector, support competition in maintenance and repair services, and create an optimal competitive environment that will allow the consumer to have multiple options in the areas of car maintenance, security and spare parts, as well as the opportunity for workshops to develop their performance and competition efficiently and effectively, in accordance with Ministerial Decree No. 418 of 2016 on the conditions and regulations regulating the licensing of non-dealer maintenance workshops and supporting fair competition in the after sales services sector in the automotive sector.
The initiative aims to protect consumer rights, develop the automotive sector, support competition in maintenance and repair services, and create an ideal competitive environment that allows consumers to have multiple options in the areas of car maintenance, warranty and spare parts.
In 2017, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce organised the 12th Gulf Consumer Protection Week under the slogan 'Towards Secure Electronic Shopping for Consumers, which coincided with the holding of the celebration of the 12th Gulf Consumer Protection Week organised by consumer protection bodies and administrations in the GCC countries, the event aims to unify Gulf efforts to expand the umbrella of consumer protection and reach co-operation, in addition to empowering the consumer by providing him with the knowledge and skills to become a conscious consumer, aware of his rights and responsibilities, and actively participate in the defence of consumer issues.
During the holy month of Ramadan 2017, the ministry launched the annual series of 'less than obligatory initiatives, which was designed to cover all aspects of the ministry's activities related to organisation, support, partnership and motivation, such as the subsidised sheep initiative and the initiative to stimulate the productivity of bakery and cafeterias.
Under this initiative, the ministry announced the list of reduced consumer goods, which included more than 418 items, in addition to the stabilisation of prices of more than 50,000 food and non-food items, in co-ordination with consumer complexes and major outlets.
In the context of initiatives aimed at highlighting the advantages of the Qatari economy and the business environment that will contribute to attracting foreign direct investment, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce organised in 2017 the activities of economic forums in Southeast Asia, including the Malaysia-Qatar Forum, Singapore-Qatar Economic Forum and the Indonesian-Qatari Economic Forum. These forums formed an important interactive platform that brought together a number of senior officials, investors and economists to explore investment opportunities in various sectors.
A number of agreements and memorandums of understanding have been signed on the sidelines of these forums, including the signing of memorandums of understanding and the declaration of intent between Qatar Chamber and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, Qatar Ports and the Port Authority of Indonesia, and the signing of 4 memorandums of understanding between Qatar Chamber and Singapore Business Association and a number of specialised companies in the consulting sector, training, agriculture and construction from both sides.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce witnessed the signing of an agreement and memorandum of understanding between Qatar Chamber and the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Malaysia. Qatar Chamber and the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia signed an agreement on the establishment of a joint business council aiming at enhancing relations between the Qatari and Malaysian business sectors, services and other economic fields. A memorandum of understanding was also signed between Qatar Chamber and the National Chamber of Commerce Industry in Malaysia to support diversification of trade and investment between Qatar and Malaysia.
During 2017, the ministry also organised a number of important economic forums in Africa, including the Kenya-Qatar Business Forum in Nairobi and the South African Business Forum in Pretoria, where a partnership agreement was signed between the two sides on hosting major sponsors such as the Olympics and World Cup.
The ministry also organised the Sri Lankan Business and Investment Forum to highlight investment opportunities in various sectors in Qatar, especially trade, agriculture, tourism, energy and other economic fields.
As part of its efforts to enhance the business environment and attract foreign investments, the ministry has also participated in the opening of the programme for the country delegation in Izmir, Turkey, in the presence of Minister of Economy of the Republic of Turkey Nihad Zibekji.
lTrade Ties With Turkey And Iran
A series of meetings were held between Qatari businessmen and their Turkish counterparts to discuss ways of enhancing trade relations and reviewing the investment opportunities available in the two countries to establish joint ventures in Turkey and in Qatar.
These meetings and bilateral meetings have resulted in the signing of a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding between Qatari and Turkish companies in various fields.
During this year, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce held a meeting with some economic development partners and a group of businessmen and executive heads of Iranian companies to discuss ways of strengthening co-operation between Qatar and Iran.
A meeting was also held between HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani, the Minister of Commerce of Iran Mohamed Shariatmadari, and Nihad Zibekji, Minister of Economy of Turkey, and discussed aspects of co-operation between the three countries in economic and trade fields.
The meeting was followed by signing a memorandum of understanding between Qatar, Iran and Turkey on the facilitation of international transport and transit traffic to support and consolidate economic and trade co-operation.
lQatar-UK Relations
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint ministerial committee for economic, commercial and technical co-operation between the governments of Qatar and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
This committee aims to exchange views on trade and investment, co-operation in the World Trade Organisation, and supporting the priority sectors in the fields of trade and investment in Qatar and to support Qatar National Vision 2030, as well as supporting commerce and investment sectors in both countries.
As part of its efforts to strengthen co-operation between Qatar and the United Kingdom, the ministry has recently participated in the first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on Economic, Commercial and Technical Co-operation between the governments of Qatar and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The two sides agreed to take the necessary steps to promote and develop bilateral relations in order to increase the volume of trade exchange and facilitate the flow of goods and services.
The first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on Economic, Commercial and Technical Co-operation between the governments of Qatar and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland resulted in an agreement with the British side to fund investment projects worth 4.5bn pounds (QR21bn) within Qatar.
The Qatari side also reviewed what was achieved during the past year as part of Qatar's commitment to invest $5bn in the British economy, in addition to reviewing the investment areas in Qatar and incentives presented to investors. The two sides agreed to co-operate in the fields of small and medium-sized enterprises, food security and health certificates. British companies were invited to participate in public-private partnership initiatives, as well as presenting technical consultations on the proposed projects.
The two sides welcomed the co-operation between the central banks of the two countries and agreed to hold the next meeting next year in Doha. The British side also welcomed the adoption by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Qatar of 40 British Universities offering distance education.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce participated in the meetings of the First Working Group on Public-Private Partnership organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in the Swiss capital Geneva, the Director of Economic Policy and Research at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce Saud bin Abdullah al-Attiyah, gave a panel discussion on the strategies and projects of the public-private partnership and its contribution to the achievement of sustainable development goals. He also reviewed the partnership projects in Qatar and the great attention paid by the state to private sector projects, pointing out in this regard to the initiatives launched by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce to support this sector and develop its capabilities to enhance the competitiveness of the national economy.
lPresence In Exhibitions
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce registered an important presence in the different local and international exhibitions in 2017, including the participation in the 'Qatari Markets exhibition accompanying the 2017 Family Promotion Award that was organised by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, the fourth edition of Qatar Information Technology Exhibition and Conference (QITCOM 2017), the second edition of Qatar Government Procurement and Contracting Conference and Exhibition, the Turkish Trade Fair 'Expo Turkey in Qatar, as well as the 2017 Astana Expo and the eighth edition of the Aspire for Sport exhibition and conference held in London.
The pavilion of Qatar participating in Astana Expo 2017 was a success and won many awards. The pavilion won the first place and the Gold Award as the best international pavilion among more than 100 participating, which is considered as an achievement as it is the only Arab pavilion to win this award.
In the same context, the pavilion of Qatar received the best external design by the jury voting of the magazine Exhibitor.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce participated also in the third annual professional exhibition at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Education City and the 11th Career Fair organised by Qatar University.
The ministry has developed a series of periodicals aiming at promoting and developing investment behaviour among the different segments of the society. These publications target investors and entrepreneurs, and offer a range of awareness, investment and economic initiatives, in addition to studies and reports that allow them to know and determine their direction and build their investment and economic plans.
In this context, the ministry has prepared reports and studies on the growing economic role of the health and education sectors to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030.
The Ministry also issued a report on the health sector and confirmed that the added value of this sector rose from about QR6.2bn in 2011 to about QR10.6bn, which was accompanied by a rise in the contribution of the health sector in the GDP at current prices from 1% in 2011 to about 1.8% in 2015, and from 1% to 1.3% in real prices.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce announced the results of an analytical report prepared on the developmental role of micro enterprises in Qatar which employ less than 10 workers in all its various production operations. The report stressed the importance of the developmental role played by small enterprises in the national economy, which increased from 13,600 in 2010 to about 16,500 in 2015, an increase of 2,900 establishments.
A new study prepared by the ministry on the logistics sector in the country showed that there is a strong and remarkable rise in the developmental role of this sector. The services provided by the transport activities in all its forms and the supporting activities which constitute the bulk of the logistics services increased significantly during the first years of this decade, due to the great attention given by Qatar to this sector as the main nerve of most productive and service activities.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce announced in 2017 the results of an analytical report on the tourism sector and its role in supporting economic growth and achieving comprehensive and sustainable development.
The report said that the tourism sector, which is one of the most important pillars of the economic diversification policy, helping in achieving an added value to the Qatari economy and boosted the state's trade balance as tourism exports rose from about QR10.2bn in 2010 to about QR24bn ($6.6bn) in 2015.
This increase was driven mainly by the increase in the number of foreign tourists and the high rate of spending on goods and services provided by the different economic businesses.
The ministry has also provided a range of advice to invest in the catering and travel and tourism agencies sectors in order to promote their growth as the main engines of the policy of economic diversification pursued by Qatar. The ministry also provided a range of advice to investors in sectors that would enhance the competitiveness of the national economy, calling for investment in the sector of street vendors as part of the initiative launched based on the decision No. 243 of 2016 of the minister of economy and commerce on the regulations and requirements of licences to have a street vendor business.
lFinancial Education
In addition, the ministry provided a set of advice on the children's investment portfolio in order to instil financial education in children and enhance their economic behaviour and enable them to manage their future lives independently from their parents in terms of education, marriage and treatment. The ministry also offered advice in the field of consumption rationalisation and consumer awareness.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce was keen to enhance its presence in social networks thanks to its belief in their important role in achieving the required interaction with the public and learning about their views and opinions. The ministry has worked to utilise all means of social communication as effective channels for the dissemination of its activities and informing the public about its initiatives and raising their awareness about topics related to the sectors of trade, economy and consumer protection, and, thus, reaching the biggest possible segment of society and enhancing communication with them.
The ministry's data indicate swift interaction with the submitted inquiries and complaints, with 99% of inquiries answered in less than 24 hours. The ministry responded to more than 3,000 complaints and inquiries through its different social media channels in 2017.
Some 50,000 new users started following the ministry's social media accounts, while it published 540 awareness and news posts about the different sectors and received more than 60,000 interactions and more than 10mn views.


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