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Posted On: 20 March 2023 03:51 pm
Updated On: 21 March 2023 05:15 pm

Shura Council submits proposal to address inflation & high cost of living

Cassandra Pallagud
Cassandra Pallagud
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Shura council proposal address inflation high cost of living

Shura Council held its regular weekly session in Tamim bin Hamad Hall on 20 March 2023 headed by His Excellency Mr. Hassan bin Abdullah Al-Ghanim, Speaker of the Council.

At the beginning of the session, His Excellency Dr. Ahmed bin Nasser Al-Fadala, Secretary General of the Shura Council, read the agenda of the session, and the minutes of the previous session were approved.

During the session, the Council reviewed the report of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee on the request for general discussion put forward by Their Excellencies members of the Council in the last session, related to inflation, the high cost of living, and the increase in the financial burden on citizens.

After extensive discussions on the report's conclusions, exchanging views on it, and presenting views that contribute to finding solutions to this file by the members, the Council decided to submit a proposal to the esteemed government on the aforementioned issue.

The proposal included a number of axes and recommendations that would contribute to reducing the effects of inflation, address the problem of high consumer prices and provide realistic scenarios to address the high operational cost of goods and services, which is reflected in the consumer.

In the context of discussing the report, His Excellency Mr. Hassan bin Abdullah Al-Ghanim, Speaker of the Shura Council, referred to the negative social and economic effects of inflation and the high cost of living, which requires the concerted efforts of all concerned parties to address this problem.

His Excellency added, "Given the importance of this issue, it was raised in the first session of the Council, and since the previous session, the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee headed by His Excellency Brother Muhammad bin Yusef Al-Manea made commendable efforts to study the issue in all its aspects, and the committee completed during the current session those efforts to reach the report displayed before you.”

His Excellency the Speaker of the Council indicated that the legislation enacted by the state to overcome the problems involved in the discussion request had a tangible impact, reviewing his Excellency the most important laws in this aspect, such as the Law on Protecting Competition and Preventing Monopolistic Practices, and what the law stipulated in terms of establishing a special committee to protect competition, and others. Of the relevant laws and legislations, stressing simultaneously that raising the issue by the Shura Council is a continuation of the government's efforts to find out the areas of imbalance and address these problems.

He continued, "In view of the accelerating economic changes locally and internationally, and the problems the world suffers from that affect final consumers, it has become necessary to raise this issue and follow it up, and to discuss ways to address it and limit its effects."

During his review of the report, Eng. Ahmed bin Hitmi Al Hitmi, Chairman of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, referred to the meetings held by the committee to discuss the issue, by inviting a number of officials from the concerned authorities, as well as seeking the opinions and analysis of specialists from academics, analysts, businessmen, and citizens. His Excellency indicated that the price hike included all sectors, with a noticeable increase in certain basic sectors, which require a radical treatment by the state, indicating that other sectors are affected by this problem, pointing out that these sectors are not considered among the basic sectors or necessary for daily life, which requires A change in the culture and consumption pattern of society.

Al-Hitmi explained the causes of inflation and high prices in Qatar, which he attributed to internal and external factors. He also reviewed a number of proposed solutions and recommendations presented by the committee to address inflation, including those related to anti-monopoly policies, increasing places designated for commercial activities, subsidizing basic commodities and materials, supporting the national product to increase its production in the local market, reviewing fees and taxes policies, and raising awareness of the important role of the trader and consumer in this aspect.

In their turn, the members of the Council praised the government's plans and policies in confronting inflation by implementing a package of measures that contributed to reducing the impact of inflation, stressing the need to carry out periodic reviews of legislation, monetary policies, and support measures, and work to spread awareness among businessmen and consumers of their responsibility contribute to addressing this problem.

The members called on the authorities concerned with consumer protection and price control to intensify their campaigns on the market, encourage free competition and work to prevent monopoly, and provide all forms and aspects of support for the local product and provide more in the local market, in addition to encouraging its export and supporting it to compete externally.

The members of the Council pointed out the need to increase streets and commercial areas in various parts of the country, which would allow wide options for merchants, reduce rental and real estate prices, and reduce the cost of production, which consequently leads to lower prices.

They noted the need to support entrepreneurs, strengthen small and medium-sized companies, direct them to increase investment in the services and basic commodities sector, and avoid focusing on specific sectors with a consumption and entertainment pattern only.

In a related context, the members of the Council drew attention to the role of civil society organizations in confronting the phenomenon of excessive and redundant consumption by raising consumer awareness and alerting them not to be led by advertising campaigns.

The members of the Council also pointed out the need to pay attention to the sectors of production of basic and food materials, support national factories, companies, and farms, and enhance their capabilities for external competition, noting that the competitiveness of the national product and increasing its sales in foreign markets contributes to increasing its distribution abroad and reducing its prices internally.

On the other hand, members of the Shura Council attributed inflation to other external factors, related to high transport and freight costs to record levels, high energy prices, and interruption of supply chains, noting the state’s good management of this file by taking a number of measures that contributed to maintaining the prices of basic materials needed by the consumer on a daily basis.

The session continued as the Council approved a draft law on documents and archives, after reviewing the report of the Cultural Affairs and Information Committee on it, and discussing the provisions of the draft law by Their Excellencies the members of the Council.
The aforementioned draft law aims to regulate dealing with public, historical, national and other documents, and to classify, preserve and protect them.

On the other hand, the Council approved a request to extend the work of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee to study a draft law amending some provisions of the Customs Law promulgated by Law No. (40) of 2002. During the session, the Council also reviewed the report of the participation of Her Excellency Mrs. Sheikha bint Yousef Al-Jufairi in the meeting that was held at the headquarters of The General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf in Riyadh last December, between female members of the legislative councils of the GCC countries, and Her Excellency Ms. Hana Neumann, Head of the Delegation for Relations with the Arabian Peninsula in the European Parliament, which dealt with the situation of women parliamentarians and politicians in the Gulf countries, and the promotion of the role of women in parliaments.

In the context of her presentation of the report, Her Excellency explained that the meeting witnessed an exchange of views on the situation of women parliamentarians and politicians in the GCC countries and ways to empower women and enhance their role in the parliamentary and political fields. Referring to her affirmation in the meeting of the status enjoyed by Qatari women and the opportunities available to them in all sectors, and their prominent role in the parliamentary, diplomatic and all fields, thanks to the support they receive from the wise leadership.

The session was attended by students from the College of Business and Economics at Qatar University and the Community College, as well as a number of students from the Qatar School of Banking Sciences and Business Administration for Boys, and students from the Qatar School of Banking Sciences and Business Administration for Girls.

Source and cover image credit: Shura Council