The Qatar government has introduced licence exemptions for businesses in an attempt to stimulate economic activity. Fifty-five types of business have been exempted from requiring pre-approval from the Civil Defence Department before being issued a commercial licence.
The new rules, which come into force today, follow reports of delays in securing a certificate of approval, in particular due to tightened regulations on fire safety in business premises following the Villagio mall blaze that killed 19 people in 2012, according to a report in Gulf Times. The newspaper said the Qatar government wanted to streamline the pre-approval process to encourage more businesses to set up shop in the country.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce said in a statement: “This joint programme (with the General Directorate of Civil Defence at the Ministry of Interior), the first of its kind, has waived the condition of getting the pre-approval of the Civil Defence to be eligible for a commercial licence.”
However, it added that the new business can only begin trading once its premises have received an occupancy certificate from the Civil Defence, and the new rules apply only to businesses that use space of up to 250 square metres. And fire safety certificates can be obtained from the Civil Defence within 30 days of acquiring a commercial licence, the ministry pledged.
Among the business sectors exempt from requiring pre-approval are: furniture shops, car showrooms, travel agencies, exchange houses, law firms, internet cafes, clothes shops and supermarkets.