By Peter Alagos/ Business Reporter
The government has undertaken several legal reforms and policies to streamline procedures and regulations to ensure further ease of doing business in Qatar, it was announced at the “Forum for Improving the Business Environment in the State of Qatar” held in Doha yesterday.
Khamis al-Mohannadi, the chairman of the Technical Committee for the Motivation and Participation of the Private Sector in Economic Development Projects, stressed that Qatar has succeeded in establishing itself as “one of the strongest” regional economies and “among the most promising” economies in the world in terms of competitiveness and growth despite the economic blockade.
Al-Mohannadi, who is also chairman of the Ease of Doing Business Committee for World Bank Indicators, noted that Qatar is seeking to improve its position in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report (DB), saying that Qatar seeks to be among the top 20 countries in the report during the next five years.
Qatar ranked 77 globally in the 2020 World Bank report in the ease of doing business. Qatar rose in a number of key indicators, ranking first globally in the property registration index, and third in the world in the tax payment index, and 13th in the building permits index. The State’s index on obtaining electricity and obtaining credit witnessed a significant increase.
In a presentation, Nasser al-Taweel, adviser to the Minister of Finance for Legal Affairs, said many reforms implemented by the government in the previous months, as well as the facilities granted to business owners aimed at attracting more FDI and to support businesses in the private sector.
He said the reforms included a new law that will allow businesses to pledge their movable assets, enabling companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to obtain financing.
Al-Taweel also announced streamlined processes for getting electricity in only two procedures instead of the previous four steps. Also, instead of 13 steps, building permits can now be obtained in only four procedures.
Other reforms include a plan to protect investors in financial markets, with a focus on minority shareholders by strengthening the corporate law to give more protection to small investors.
He also said facilitation of customs procedures is made using paperless transactions to ensure there is no delay. Also, the state plans to expand its ‘green list’ of importers for easier, faster, and efficient processes at the port. The General Authority of Customs is launching a new website at the beginning of next year to improve operations, he also said.
Al-Taweel said to ensure business facilitation, the State aims to make it easy for companies to resolve any form of conflict by expediting the resolution of cases and to reduce the procedures for conflict resolution.
Saleh al-Khulaifi, assistant undersecretary for Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said the single window launched by the ministry aims to expedite transactions and requests of investors within a specific time frame.
With the single window, al-Kulaifi said, investors only need to fulfil 31 transactions instead of the previous 250 after redundancies in filing papers and records were deleted, thus expediting the process.
Saud al-Attiyah, deputy undersecretary for Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Finance, also reviewed the most important reforms and improvements witnessed by the state in various fields with the aim of making Qatar the leading business and financial centre in the region. Page 3
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