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Posted On: 25 October 2022 09:47 am
Updated On: 25 October 2022 10:08 am

H.H. The Amir inaugurates the fifty-first annual session of the Shura Council

Tracy Quirino
Tracy Quirino
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HH The Amir shura council speech

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has inaugurated the second ordinary session of the first legislative term, or the fifty-first annual session, of the Shura Council, in the Tamim bin Hamad Hall at the Shura Council this morning.

The opening ceremony was attended by His Highness the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, His Highness Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Personal Representative of the Emir, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Thani, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al-Thani and His Excellency Sheikh Jassim bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

The opening ceremony was also attended by H.E. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and a number of Their Excellencies the Sheikhs, Ministers, Heads of Diplomatic Missions accredited to the State and notables.

His Highness the Amir delivered a speech on this occasion. Read the full transcript below as translated from Amiri Diwan's report:

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Merciful, the Brothers and Sisters of the Shura Council, I am pleased to meet you at the beginning of the annual session of your esteemed Council, and I also fully appreciate your efforts in our national march with the right opinion and full care for the requirements of the common good and government work.

Our meeting today is taking place in light of the preoccupation of the State and the people in preparing to host a historic event that constitutes one of our most important national projects, the World Cup. The global interest in this occasion and in the host country shows how important this event is to our country. It is the most important sporting event, but it is not only a sporting event but a major humanitarian occasion.

Qatar's economic state

Brothers and sisters, the economic issue remains the greatest concern of all countries of the world, as the negative economic effects caused by the Corona pandemic on the economies of countries began to subside until the Russian-Ukrainian crisis came to hit the world economy and international trade with damage that is getting worse by the day.

We thank God that we have been at the forefront of States that, with their actions at the national level, have succeeded in dealing with and mitigating those negative effects, not only at the governmental and public sector levels but also at the level of paying attention to the private sector.

Qatar's economy has continued to grow this year, following the decline in 2020. Preliminary data show GDP growth during the first half of the year of 4.3%, supported by the growth of the non-oil sector by 7.3% compared to the same period of the previous year.

The rise in energy prices turned the budget deficit expected at the beginning of the year into a surplus of about 47.3 billion riyals in the first half of the year. The budget surplus will be directed at reducing the level of public debt and increasing the state's fiscal reserves.

Qatar Energy has expanded its operations in sixteen countries around the world in partnership with a number of major international companies. The North Field gas production expansion project is one of the most important strategic projects that support our economy and the country's public finances in the long term.

Qatar Energy is also working to contribute to the generation of renewable energy. We recently inaugurated the Kharsa Solar Project, which meets 10% of Qatar's electricity consumption.

Brothers and sisters, despite the great effects that recent international events and developments have had on the economies of the entire world, international agencies have proven the rating of the strong economy of the State of Qatar, and its stable future prospects.

The inflation rate in Qatar on an annual basis reached only 4.6% in the first half of the year, and I say "only" because it is lower than the inflation rates we see today in many developed countries where the country has been keen to take any necessary measures to reduce inflation, including ensuring the provision of basic commodities such as foodstuffs, and price control.

Sustainable efforts of the country

The State of Qatar has also assumed an advanced global position in the level of global food security, as a result of the implementation of the National Strategy for Food Security through several strategic production projects.

In order to preserve natural resources and achieve sustainable development, the State has adopted the Integrated National Programme for the Sustainability of Resources, the Recycling of Waste, and the establishment of plants for its treatment and conversion into energy.

Due to the measures taken by the State to preserve the environment and improve the quality of life in cities, the State of Qatar became the first country in the world to receive accreditation from the World Health Organization as healthy city.

Achieving the Qatar National Vision 2030

Brothers and sisters, the comprehensive development of the country remains the supreme goal that the state is working to achieve, and continues steadfastly to carry out its requirements at all levels, in accordance with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and its desired goals.

Government agencies, public bodies, institutions, and companies are being reorganized to increase their efficiency and compatibility with the requirements of the times and to expand the use of electronic systems to ensure the effectiveness of government performance, implement development plans with the necessary efficiency and speed and facilitate citizens in activities and services.

Our country has also witnessed a legislative renaissance under which fundamental laws regulating various aspects of life and transactions in the State have been completed.

The development of justice systems is at the top of our priorities, in order to achieve complete justice, which is indispensable for the stability of transactions and the guarantee of rights.

In this context, a package of important legislation, including the Judicial Execution Act, the Code of Civil and Commercial Procedure, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Law on the Judiciary, and the Public Prosecution Act, has been prepared and will be transmitted to your esteemed Council successively.

The first specialized court, the Investment and Commerce Court, which adopts the fully electronic system in all its transactions and is an addition that will contribute to enhancing the investment climate in the country, has also begun its work.

Brothers and sisters, strategic infrastructure projects associated with urban plans have been completed over the past years. We have a lot of work ahead of us on the level of economic projects that suit the State of Qatar and give it an advantage.

The state will focus public spending on projects and programs of the Third National Development Strategy, support vital sectors with the highest economic return, as well as invest in infrastructure improvement.

We will also diversify sources of public revenue to achieve fiscal sustainability so that the public budget does not remain vulnerable to energy price fluctuations.

In this context, the ICV program was launched, which gives preference in tenders and tenders to companies that rely more on the local economy than others for the supply of goods and services to the public sector.

In this area, bureaucratic obstacles, the complexity, and inconsistencies between procedures must be overcome, and legal gaps that constitute an obstacle to investment, economic initiatives, and the establishment of projects at home and abroad must be filled.

In view of the great importance that the State attaches to the participation of the private sector in economic activity, the competent authorities seek to activate the provisions of the Law on the Regulation of Partnership between the Public and Private Sectors in all relevant projects, including health, educational and tourism facilities.

The State is also working to amend the legislation regulating foreign investment to remove the obstacles facing that investment and to highlight Qatar internationally as an incubator for international direct investment and improve the investment environment, in addition to opening the way for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to practice new activities for shipping services, advertising, stock trading, and company establishment.

This is a general policy of the state, and like all public policies, everyone is supposed to implement it from their respective positions. When we recognize a trend with regard to human development, health, education, and others or in the economy, for example by developing initiatives in technology, tourism, or other fields, it must be clear that State institutions act as one team in the service of the same goal.

Work will continue on developing the energy sector, diversifying investments for future generations, building various competitive economic sectors, and paying attention to the safety of the environment.

The main task remains to work on building the human being, the responsible citizen who is able to be the pillar of all this, who knows his national duties and rights, who knows the value of what he has, who aspires beyond the material values of consumption, who presents essence over appearance, who understands that religion is above all morality, who understands that initiative and action are better than dependency that draws grumbling and complaints, and that criticism is useful only if it is based on the correct information and an understanding of contexts, and appreciates the role of everyone who works in this Country.

Brothers and sisters, our approach to foreign policy, which is based on adherence to international law, the protection of our national gains, and the adoption of preventive diplomacy in defusing crises before they escalate, and the positive results we have achieved in this regard,make it imperative that our role be effective and responsible in our region and at the global level.

Adherence to and application of these principles has made Qatar a reliable partner in peacemaking and stabilizing it.

In this spirit, we are doing everything in our power to contribute to addressing the global energy shortage crisis in consultation with our partners, and our strategic plans, including the expansion of the North Gas Field, will have a significant impact in mitigating the short- and medium-term repercussions of this crisis.

In complex international circumstances, Qatar maintains a positive balance between its principles and interests, which has earned it remarkable respect.

Building credibility requires a strong economy and a cohesive society, a wise and persistent approach to international relations, as well as the fulfilment of commitments, including at the level of our responsibility as producers, energy exporters and investors, as well as meeting what the international community expects of us, and above all what we expect from ourselves, at the level of moral attitudes, solidarity and the provision of humanitarian aid.

We will continue to strengthen our strengths and build our capacity in areas such as, professional media, higher education, knowledge production, investment and mediation to resolve conflicts between nations, and hosting major global events.

On hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022

Brothers and sisters, since we had the privilege of hosting the World Cup,

Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign to which no host country has been exposed. We initially approached it in good faith, and even considered that some criticism was positive and useful, helping us to develop aspects of our own that needed to be developed. However, it soon became clear to us that the campaign continues and expands, includes slander and double standards until it has reached such a level of ferocity that unfortunately many wonder what the real reasons and motives behind this campaign are.

Hosting the World Cup brings together several elements of credibility and the ability to positively influence, by accepting the challenge and integrating it into our national projects and development plans, as well as at the level of economic, security and administrative capacities, and at the level of civilizational and cultural openness.

In short, it is an occasion in which we show "who we are" not only in terms of the strength of our economy and institutions, but also in terms of our civilizational identity.

This is a big test for a country the size of Qatar, which impresses the whole world with what it has achieved and achieves. We have accepted this challenge out of faith in our ability, as Qataris, to address and make the mission a success, and out of our awareness of the importance of hosting a major event such as the World Cup in the Arab world.

Qatar is currently more like a workshop of preparation for the event, in which Qataris and residents are engaged. Brotherly and friendly States have thankfully put their potential at our disposal. This is one of the objectives of such events, which encourage cooperation, fraternity and exchange of experiences, and bring together and do not divide, as they are a tournament for all and its success is a success for all.

Finally, let us continue to work from his position to raise the name of the homeland high, and let us open our arms to welcome everyone so that the world can witness the hospitality and generosity of Qataris.

"Say work, and God will see your work, His Messenger, and the believers." Believe the Almighty God.

I wish you a successful legislative chapter.

Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.

Source and cover image credit: Amiri Diwan