Key points HH the Emir made at the 45th session of the Advisory Council

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HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani inaugurated the 45th ordinary session of the Advisory Council at its premises on Tuesday morning. 

Here are some key points that the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani made at the Advisory Council:

His highness started off his speech by recalling the recent loss of HH the Grandfather Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani.

“A few days ago we bid farewell to HH the Grandfather Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani. With his departure we lost one of our most prominent leaders and builders of modern Qatar that holds to its genuine Arab and Islamic values and traditions. The occasion will not suffice to cite the achievements of our deceased grandee. Although these have been mentioned time and again in recent days, yet his scented memory will remain vivid in the minds and hearts of all Qataris. May Allah bestow mercy on him and rest his soul in His most spacious paradise, and grant mercy to our dead and to the martyrs of this homeland and this Umma. I extend my thanks to all those who expressed their condolences and sympathies to us on this loss.”

The Emir then continued on to talk about matters of the state.

Qatar’s economy is an important matter to the future and development of the Qatar 2030 National Vision:

"The economic affairs remain a matter of prime concern for us especially in light of the circumstances created by the sharp decline in hydrocarbons' prices, but we are determined to proceed with our development plans to achieve the goals we have drawn up in Qatar's National Vision," HH the Emir said. 

Oil and gas production has increased substantially due to technological advancements, and global prices are dropping. However, there’s still uncertainty in the markets. There are also plans to achieve sustainable development in order to obtain alternate sources of income:  

In this regard, new reality features are emerging in global energy industry as a result of the accelerating technological developments, which have led to an increase in oil and gas production to unprecedented levels and the subsequent sharp decline of prices in the global energy markets, His Highness added.

"Frankly speaking, although we had anticipated that high energy prices would not remain indefinitely, and we adopted the Qatar's National Vision in preparation for the day when we can achieve sustainable development to diversify the sources of income and avoid relying exclusively on oil and gas, no one expected this fast decline in energy prices."   

According to the Emir, The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Qatar has an annual growth rate of about 3.6% reported in 2015, despite the falling oil and gas prices.

"Qatar has maintained its credit rating, which is one of the highest in the world. It has also continued to assume top positions in the indices of Global Competitiveness. Qatar ranked 18th in the latest world competitiveness report by the World Economic Forum and ranked second in the Middle East. 

The state of Qatar is also now in the process of launching the Second National Development Strategy 2017-2022 in order to proceed towards fulfilling the 2030 vision. The Emir listed a number of guidelines that the new strategy will aim to follow.

"To be more specific, the parameters of Qatar's Second National Development Strategy could be summarized as follows: 

First: Identifying the obstacles that hampered the implementation of some programs and projects in the first national development strategy to draw lessons in order to avoid recurrence. 

Second: Maintaining the required continuity to complete the initiatives and infrastructure projects under implementation and major projects including the facilities of Qatar World Cup 2022, in compliance with Qatar National Vision 2030. 

Third: Reviewing development priorities in the light of the outcome of the First National Development Strategy and the new global developments.  

Fourth: Identifying the available opportunities to implement new programs and projects compatible with the sectoral and national priorities. 

Fifth: Achieving the education and health projects in a manner that satisfy, qualitatively and quantitatively, the needs of citizens, according to the highest global standards. Although we set out in these fields of basic human development from the point of responsibility of the State in the first place, still we concluded that it is necessary to benefit from the constructive interaction between the private and public sectors in this respect.  

Sixth: Eliminating bureaucratic impediments facing investments. The government has pledged to implement the standardization of transactions procedures and the "single window" by the end of this year. We expect further measures from it to remove obstacles and complications facing investments. 

Seventh: Stimulating the private sector and directing it towards the most productive sectors, or service-cum-production ones that are compatible with the National Vision trends. 

Eighth: Transition from the state of reception embedded in simple social welfare policies to a state of action by empowering all segments of society to participate in national development. 

Ninth: Continuous review of tariffs and fees for many services and commodities to better reflect their economic cost, and to direct subsidies towards the targeted groups in need in a way not conducive to extravagance and waste.

Tenth: Developing and modernizing the public sector’s institutions in order to reach a distinctive public sector credited with efficiency, transparency and subject to accountability.” 

The Emir also spoke about the progress made so far in order to strengthen the private sector and increase its participation in the economic activity. He lists a number of points below:  

First: implementation of the new government tenders’ law, which provides for exempting small and medium businesses from some requirements of government tenders, such as the financial guarantees. 

Second: Updating trade laws and legislations to liberalize certain goods and services from the commercial agents’ monopoly and permit non-agents to import them. The government is working on liberalizing other sectors in the future in order to bolster competition. 

Third: Updating corporate laws and legislations and method of drafting financial statements of companies so as to comply with the international standards. 

Fourth: Acting on finalizing a law on partnership between the public and private sectors, which will enable awarding government projects to the private sector as well as ensuring their high-quality and low cost implementation. It will also help to promote foreign investment in Qatar, specially at the current stage in which we invest in the infrastructure. It is difficult to provide funds for all the projects that we want to execute as per the strategic plan. 

Fifth: The involvement of Qatar Development Bank in manifold activities to encourage small and medium businesses that include direct and indirect financing. 

Sixth: Developing huge housing complexes for workers at the industrial area as well as in the economic and logistical zones." In the area of infrastructure, HH the Emir said activities for developing projects for express ways’ network have been intensified across the country. "Seven projects have been completed and the implementation of fifteen projects is under way. Six other projects will be implemented at an estimated total cost of sixty billion Qatari Riyals. All these projects are due to be completed ahead of 2022."  

Qatar will work towards paying more attention to its energy sector as an important source to expand its economic base. There will be more focus on projects locally and overseas, which aligns with Qatar’s National Vision on preserving and conserving the environment. 

The Emir said a project has been commissioned that will recover evaporating gas during loading of gas on board liquified gas tankers to reduce the carbon footprint. 

“We also set out to develop a project to generate electricity from solar energy with production capacity of 200 megawatts (MW) in the first phase, rising later to more than 500MW." His Highness said the State has carried out important steps to rationalize spending. It has to combine the evolution of a modern and distinctive public sector mainly benchmarked against success, with encouraging the private sector to implement projects and programs set by the national strategies that aim at achieving sustainable prosperity for the State of Qatar. But this development process will not succeed without the cooperation of everyone.” 

On the subject of public and private sectors, and entrepreneurs, the Emir spoke about the importance of a citizen’s duty to do his job as well as the state’s responsibility in helping the citizen equipping him with the right tools in order to carry out their tasks. 

"Here I especially mention the public sector employees and entrepreneurs in the private sector. A public sector’s employee should not be inactive in discharging work requirements. Job is a right, but discharging the tasks of this job is a duty. The citizen's rights on our part include education, training and qualifying him for work, and it is his duty to do his work in the best way possible, accomplish his tasks on time and as per the required accuracy and complete integrity. As a citizen he also bears an additional duty of advancing the work and being proud of it to realize its mission in serving the community and the State." 

"As for the entrepreneurs, I want to say that the State expects a payback for the benefits that it provides to the private sector, in order to help put the development process on the right track by launching bold national initiatives and entering into real rather than nominal partnerships with the world’s most reputable foreign companies to transfer technology, encourage excellence and innovation and create an inventive private sector capable of competing globally and has a commitment towards the National Vision values, such as encouraging national workforce and preserving the environment. 

Here’s the full speech: http://www.qna.org.qa/en-us/News/16110109240019/HH-the-Emir-Inaugurates-Advisory-Council-45th-Ordinary-Session 

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