The government has hinted it might try to acquire land in neighbourhoods in Doha and other towns to build commercial complexes to help meet a severe shortage of shops and push down their demand-driven high rent prices.
The Qatar Chamber, representative body of the private sector, yesterday raised the issue with two key ministers of acute shortage of shops particularly in Doha due to large-scale demolitions of old buildings for development projects.
The ministers said they will try their level best on behalf of their ministries to acquire plots of land in busy neighbourhoods, especially in Greater Doha, where shopping complexes could be built by the government so shops could be allotted on affordable rent.
The issue of shop shortages was taken up by Qatar Chamber officials at a meeting attended by the Minister of Business and Trade, HE Sheikh Jassim bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, and the Minister of Municipality and Urban Planning, HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Khalifa Al Thani.
The meeting was held at a hotel here on the sidelines of a signing ceremony where the first phase of a government-initiated project to build major shopping complexes (Furjan markets) in remote and sparsely populated areas of the country, was awarded to a local company.
Present at the meeting were the chairman of the Chamber, Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani, and board member of the Chamber and its contracting committee head, Nasser Al Meer.
Emerging from the meeting, Al Meer told reporters the Chamber asked the two ministers why the government was not building such shopping complexes in neighbourhoods particularly in Doha for allotment since there was a huge shortage due to large-scale demolitions of old buildings.
The ministers, according to Al Meer, explained that the government did not own land in these busy neighbourhoods, whereas in remote areas it did, so it was building commercial complexes there.
“The ministers, however, assured that they would do their best to locate plots of land in some busy neighbourhoods to build shopping complexes,” Al Meer said. “We have to first find big plots of land and only then can we build shopping complexes so shops could be allotted on affordable rent,” Al Meer quoted the ministers as saying.
About the Furjan project, the trade minister said that it was being launched in three phases and on completion of the last phase there will be some 200 ‘Furjan’ shopping complexes in different parts of the country.
Chamber officials also said that Qatari contracting companies had little business since there were no projects in the market.
The trade minister said that tenders were expected to be floated for some development projects over the next few weeks.
And tenders for a slew of projects could be expected to be floated in the second half of this year, Al Meer said citing the trade minister.
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