Qatar has approved draft legislation that increases the regulatory burden on small businesses, weeks after the Gulf state fell 11 places in a World Bank ranking of the best places to start a company.
The proposed changes would force businesses to be licensed at the national level on top of the existing municipality-level approval, Qatar News Agency reported.
The new regulation also would apply for the first time to street vendors, medical clinics, professional service providers and hospitality outlets such as restaurants, cafes, hotels and clubs.
It follows changes announced earlier this month that require businesses to renew their licences annually instead of every five years.
That new legislation also removed the right to appeal, but stated bureaucrats must respond to applications within one working day.
In the World Bank’s recent Doing Business rankings, Qatar was placed 50, behind neighbours the UAE (22) and Saudi Arabia (49).
It was even lower – at 103 – for starting a business.
Access to credit and protection of minority investors were particularly low, the global bank said.
However, Qatar was ranked number one for taxation.
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