His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued on Monday Law number 8 of 2018 on industrial areas.
The law stipulates that the creation of industrial areas is made by a cabinet decision based on the recommendation of the Minister of Energy and Industry, after the Ministry of Energy and Industry (MoEI) co-ordinates with the entities concerned.
Accordingly, the Cabinet may grant developers a franchise to develop and manage such areas according to a franchise contract. However, the law stipulates that the land plots of the industrial areas are government property to be used only in the ways stipulated in this law, no natural or legal person can own or take hold of them in any way except in accordance of this law.
The law also stipulates that all the natural resources found or located inside these industrial land plots are state owned and those renting it would be given a fair compensation for losing the whole or partial right to use them when the land is reclaimed from them.
To establish any industrial facility in these areas, the prior approval of the MoEI and the government entities concerned shall be obtained. Besides, any modification, demolition or improvement of these facilities should also be done only after obtaining the prior written approval from the relevant department at the MoEI.
The Industrial Areas Committee shall be created at the MoEI, which shall be concerned with the relevant administrative issues. Based on the recommendations of this committee, the Minister of Energy and Industry may grant licences for banks, shareholding companies and private entities with public interest to create industrial complexes there and rent them out to the private sector investors.
The law also specifies the procedures for applying to obtain a plot of land for industrial areas and the mechanism of approval and rejection. The use of the industrial area plots of land shall be through rent according to the set terms and conditions. In addition, the owner of the industrial project shall start implementing his project within a maximum period of 12 months from the date of receiving the plot of land. He shall also be committed to pay the stipulated rent in its due time and abide by all the rules and regulations set forward by the law and the MoEI.
If the owner of a project stopped production without valid justification, he should liquidate the project within a year of stopping production. Failing to do this, gives the MoEI the right to sell the project at a public auction, and all the accumulated debts, if any, would be deducted from the price for the benefit of the state.
The law also specifies the cases, where the Minister can terminate the rent contract such as renting to a third party, or breaking the rental terms and conditions among other cases. However, the minister can grant the tenant a grace period to rectify his situation before terminating the contract prematurely.
Encroaching on the state owned industrial areas by any person, legal or natural, in breach of this law, entails a maximum fine of QR1mn without prejudice for any harsher penalty in any other law of the country. The same applies for failing to obtain a prior licence to establish any industrial facility there.
The Minister of Energy and Industry shall issue the necessary decisions to enforce this law. Also, the employees of the department concerned at the MoEI shall have the necessary judicial powers to spot and prove any violations of the law.
The law is effective and is to be published in the official gazette.