In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Brothers and Sisters, Members of the Shura Council,
I am pleased to meet with you at the beginning of the annual session of your esteemed council. I fully appreciate the efforts you exert in our national march by your right opinion and full care for the requirements of the public interest and government work.
Our meeting today is marked by taking place against the backdrop of the State and the people’s preoccupation with preparing to host a historical event that constitutes one of our most important national projects, which is the World Cup.
The global interest in this event as well as in the host country reveals the extent of significance of this event for our country. It is the most important sporting event, yet it is not a mere sporting event, but rather a major humanitarian occasion.
Brothers and Sisters,
The economic issue is still the biggest concern for all the countries of the world, as, no sooner the negative economic impacts of the Corona pandemic on the countries’ economies had started to recede until the Russian-Ukrainian crisis came to afflict the global economy and international trade with detriments increasing day by day.
We are grateful to Allah that we were at the forefront of countries that succeeded, by virtue of the measures taken at the national level, in addressing these negative effects and mitigating their toll, not only at the governmental and the public sector’s level, but also at the level of paying attention to the private sector.
Qatar’s economy has continued to grow during the current year, after the 2020 decline. Preliminary data indicate that the GDP during the first half of this year increased by 4.3%, supported by a 7.3% growth rate of the non-oil sector compared to the same period of the previous year.
The hike in energy prices turned a projected budget deficit 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 to reducing the level of public debt and increasing the state’s financial reserves.
Qatar Energy has expanded its operations in sixteen countries around the world in partnership with a number of major international companies. The project to expand the North Field gas production is one of the most important strategic projects that support our economy and the State’s public finance in the long term.
Qatar Energy also works to contribute to renewable energy generation. We have recently inaugurated the Al-Kharsaah solar energy project, which covers 10% of Qatar’s electricity consumption.
Brothers and Sisters,
Despite the massive impacts caused by recent international events and developments on the economies of the entire world, the international agencies have affirmed the robust rating of the State of Qatar’s economy and its stable future outlooks.
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 that we see today in many developed countries, as the state was keen on taking many necessary measures to reduce inflation, including ensuring the provision of basic commodities such as foodstuffs, and monitoring prices.
The State of Qatar has also occupied an advanced global position at the food security level, as a result of implementing the national strategy for food security through several strategic productive projects.
Out of its keenness to preserve natural resources and achieve sustainable development, the state has adopted the national program of the integrated resource sustainability, waste recycling and building of treatment plants to convert waste into energy.
In view of the measures taken by the state to protect the environment and upgrade the urban quality of life, the state of Qatar has become the first country in the world to obtain healthy cities’ status accreditation for all its cities from the World Health Organization
Brothers and Sisters,
The country’s comprehensive development remains the ultimate goal that the State is working to achieve, and continues steadily to fulfill its requirements at all levels in accordance with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and its aspired goals.
Government agencies, bodies, institutions, and public companies are being reorganized to increase their efficiency and compatibility with the requirements of this age, as well as to expand the use of electronic systems to ensure the efficiency of government performance, implement the development plans expeditiously and timely, and facilitate citizen-oriented amenities and services.
Our country has also witnessed a legislative renaissance under which basic laws regulating various aspects of life, dealings and transactions were completed.
The development of judicial systems is on top of our priorities to dispense prompt justice, which is indispensable for the stability of dealings and securing rights. Delayed justice, as I mentioned before in this honorable council, is a form of injustice.
In this context, a package of important legislations has been prepared, including the Judicial Execution Law, the Civil and Commercial Pleadings Law, the Criminal Procedures Law, and the law of Judicial Authority and the Law of Public Prosecution, all of which will respectively be referred to your esteemed council.
Also, the first specialized tribunal which is the Investment and Trade Court has started its functioning. It adopts a fully electronic system in all its proceedings and is considered an addition that will contribute to enhancing the investment climate in the country.
Brothers and Sisters,
Strategic infrastructure projects related to the urban plan have been completed over the past years. However, we have a lot of work ahead of us at the level of economic projects that suit the State of Qatar and provide it with an advantage.
The state will act to focus public spending on the Third National Development Strategy’s projects and programs, supporting vital sectors with higher economic returns, and investing in improving infrastructure.
We will also work on diversifying public revenue sources to achieve financial sustainability to shield the public budget against the risks of energy price fluctuations.
In this context, an in-country value program has been launched. It gives preference in tenders and bids to companies that are more dependent on the local economy, than other companies, in supplying goods and services to the public sector.
In this field, too, bureaucratic obstacles as well as complex and contradictory procedures must be averted, in addition to plugging legal loopholes that constitute a hindrance to investment, economic initiatives, and the establishment of projects from inside and outside.
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 regulating partnership between the public and private sectors in all relevant projects, including health, educational and tourism facilities.
The state is also working on amending the legislation regulating foreign investment to remove the obstacles facing that investment, projecting Qatar at the international level as an incubator for direct international investment and improving the investment environment. This is in addition to opening the way for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf to engage in new activities such as shipping services, advertising, stock trading and establishing companies.
This is a public policy of the state, and like all public policies, it’s supposed to be implemented by all, each from his position. When we endorse an approach regarding human development, including health, education, etc., or in the economy, for example by developing initiatives in technology, tourism, or other fields, it must be clear that the state institutions should team up as one group for getting the job done.
Work will continue to develop the energy sector, diversify investments for future generations, build various competitive economic sectors, and cater for the safety of the environment.
The main mission remains focused on building the human being, the responsible citizen who is able to serve as a foundation for all of this, and who knows his national duties and rights, while acknowledging the value of what he has, and looking forward to what goes beyond the values of materialistic consumerism, and placing quintessence above ostentation, while understanding that above all religion is ethics, and realizing that initiative and action is better than the dependency that triggers grumbling and complaining, and that criticism is useful only when it is based on correct information and contextual understanding, in addition to being appreciative of the role of everyone who works in this country.
Brothers and Sisters,
Our approach, which we have always pursued in our foreign policy, and which is based on complying with the international law, protecting our national achievements and adopting preventive diplomacy in defusing crises before they escalate, and the positive results we have achieved in this regard, makes it incumbent on us to have an active and responsible role in our region, and the world at large.
The commitment to and application of these principles has made Qatar a reliable partner in peace making and stability support.
From this standpoint, we are doing our best to contribute to addressing the crisis in global energy shortage in consultation with our partners, and our strategic plans, including the expansion of the North Gas Field, will have a significant impact on mitigating the repercussions of this crisis in the short and medium terms.
In the complex international circumstances, Qatar maintains its positive balance between its principles and interests, a stance 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 obligations, including our level of responsibility as producers and exporters of energy and investors, besides meeting what the international community expects from us, and above that what we expect of ourselves, in terms of moral attitudes, solidarity and providing humanitarian aid.
We will continue to promote the sources of our strength and build our capabilities in areas such as the professional media, higher education, knowledge production, investment, mediation in solving conflicts between countries, and hosting major international events.
Brothers and Sisters,
Since we won the honor of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced. We initially dealt with the matter in good faith, and even considered some of the criticism as positive and useful in helping us to develop aspects of ours that need to be developed. But it soon became clear to us that the campaign tends to continue and expand to include fabrications and double standards that were so ferocious that it has unfortunately prompted many people to question the real reasons and motives behind this campaign.
Hosting the World Cup incorporates several elements that form the components of credibility and ability to influence positively, this is manifested 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 capabilities, and at the level of civilized and cultural openness.
In short, it is an occasion in which we portray “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 great test for a country the size of Qatar that impresses the whole world with what it has already achieved and is achieving.
We accepted this challenge out of our faith in our potential, we the Qataris, to tackle the mission and make it a success, and due to 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 and equipping, in which Qataris and residents have engaged. Brotherly and friendly countries have put their capabilities at our disposal. These are originally part of the goals of such events that encourage cooperation, fraternity and exchange of experiences, besides converging rather than diverging, because it is a championship for all, and its success is success for all.
Finally, let us pursue the work, each from his position, to raise the name of the nation high, and let us open our arms to welcome everyone so that the world may witness the Qataris’ warm hospitality and generosity.
And say, “Do deeds, for Allah will see your deeds, and (so, will) His Messenger and the believers”. Allah Almighty is Truthful.
I wish you a successful legislative term.
Peace be upon you and the mercy and blessings of Allah.