The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) on Monday launched the first phase of single-window services during a ceremony at its headquarters in Lusail City, upon the directives of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.
These services include the incorporation of businesses and factories by enabling investors and businessmen to file and sign applications online and pay fees electronically to obtain a licence, the ministry has said in a statement.
The ceremony was attended by HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, chairman of the Qatari Businessmen Association; and Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari, first vice-chairman of Qatar Chamber; along with a number of government officials, investors and businessmen.
In remarks delivered at the launch of the first phase of single-window services, HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari said these services fall in line with the leadership’s wise directives to optimise the use of digital technology, enhance the operational performance of the government and lay the foundations of the digital infrastructure necessary to develop the business environment, positioning Qatar as an investment hub in the region.
This leading national initiative is the fruit a collaborative effort, co-operation and co-ordination among the MoCI and a number of government agencies and bodies, in order to create a unified and integrated electronic platform for investors and to streamline approval and licensing procedures for the establishment of businesses in Qatar, which will contribute to the promotion of local and foreign investments and ease the flow of investments into sectors that serve national priorities at the development level, it was explained.
He noted that the services offered during the first phase of the initiative include the incorporation of companies and factories, which will be rolled out gradually in the coming weeks, while more than 30 services related to the management of companies and factories will be added in the first quarter of 2020.
The current phase also features the rollout of services relating to the issuance of commercial records, tax registration and the documentation of incorporation contracts, providing investors with the opportunity to benefit from a unified and smart electronic platform to complete registration and business licensing procedures.
The minister added that the initiative promotes operational efficiency and streamlines the receipt and validation of documents through one smart electronic platform, compared to previous procedures, which required the intervention of more than 40 competent departments, thus shortening approval procedures by government agencies.
He said the new electronic platform will provide investors with access to over 18 government agencies under one umbrella, integrating all incorporation procedures. The single-window initiative promotes the principle of information transparency, enabling users to follow-up and evaluate the performance of various government agencies while providing integrated and accurate information on all licensed companies and Qatar’s investment sector in general, helping investors take appropriate decisions and encouraging them to establish successful investment projects, he added.
He concluded by thanking all competent authorities and government bodies for their keenness to implement this leading national project in accordance with the best international practices, which benefits the national economy.
The comprehensive incorporation services system for businesses and factories consists of an intelligent application processing system, an electronic signature system for contracts, and an e-approval portal. The services will be rolled out gradually over the coming weeks, while more than 30 services related to the management of companies and factories will be added during the first quarter of 2020.
The smart application processing system allows the easy and electronic submission of all applications under one umbrella. The application is submitted using one form, instead of filling more than 100 paper forms, which allows investors to launch businesses with ease and with minimal effort.
The e-signature system for contracts is fully electronic and compliant with Qatari laws, and is being implemented for the first time through the single window services. The government will be able to apply the system in other instances, such as signing contracts, official documents and value-added services.
The electronic signature system for contracts features: creating the contract form in digital format and sending a copy of the contract to be signed by each investor. The contract may be signed by investors at the service centre using a Qatari identity card or through the single window services website also using a Qatari ID card. The contract is then reviewed and documented electronically by the legal officer, and sent electronically to all investors.
The e-approval portal, on the other hand, is one central platform for all businesses through which concerned parties are connected to each other and the single window. Connected entities include those with an electronic system that is directly linked to the portal as well as entities that do not possess an electronic system. The approval portal allows the submission of applications by each party to the competent department to decide on each application without requiring the applicant to visit the department. After obtaining the approvals, all the required fees are paid either electronically or through the single window centre to obtain the required licence and documents.
HE the Minister of Commerce toured the single-window centre, accompanied by HE Sheikh Faisal, the Qatar Chamber first vice-chairman and a number of government officials along with a group of investors and businessmen, who were briefed on the procedures and services offered by the single window. The facilities and services that the centre offers to investors will stimulate the participation of the private sector and encourage local and foreign investments in line with Qatar National Vision 2030, according to the ministry.
"The launch of the first phase of the single-window services falls in line with Qatar’s efforts to provide a smart platform that enables Qatari and foreign investors to easily and quickly establish companies, saving applicants time and effort, while improving the efficiency and operational effectiveness of competent authorities in the field of business licensing," the statement adds.
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