DOHA: The private sector has objected to a draft commercial companies’ law the Ministry of Business and Trade has recently released for public review and claimed that it has been framed without their consultation.
The sector has, thus, demanded that a committee be set up afresh with their representatives on it to overhaul the draft completely.
A symposium was held yesterday at Qatar Chamber, representative body of the private sector, to discuss the articles of the draft where several speakers described it as vague.
A prominent Qatari businessman, Sherida Al Kaabi, told the symposium he felt that the draft had been framed to encourage foreign companies.
“The trade ministry doesn’t seem to be aware of the negative consequences of having such a legislation in place,” Al Kaabi, who represents the Qatari Businessmen’s Association, said thundering.
Present at the debate was the Under-secretary from the trade ministry, H E Sultan Rashid Al Khater, who was quick to assert that the draft did not aim to favour foreign companies at the expense of local businesses.
He said the observations made at the meeting would be intimated to the ministry for its consideration and added that he hoped that the sooner the draft became a law would be beneficial as it would help achieve the aims of the National Development Strategy (2011-16).
Al Khater hinted that the fact that the draft had been made public for a review reflected his ministry’s intention of ensuring public participation in the process of its preparation and implementation.
Several points in the said draft that some participants saw as being vague or creating confusion were raised at the symposium. The draft doesn’t talk of any minimum capital requirement for limited liability companies (LLCs), said Abdullah Ali Al Abdullah. The requirement in the existing law is QR200,000, he reminded the audience.
“If we don’t fix minimum capital requirement for the LLCs, bogus companies would mushroom and thrive,” cautioned Al Kaabi.
Businessman, Mohamed Rafiq Al Emadi, pointed out that the draft didn’t make it clear if a foreigner could set up an LLC here without a Qatari partner. In other words, he asked if a foreigner could establish an LLC with 100 percent ownership once the draft turned into law.
Legal expert, Abdullah Taher, said he didn’t think there were any fundamental changes in the draft as compared to the existing commercial companies’ law.
The draft doesn’t broach the issue of social corporate responsibility with regard to commercial companies, said Mustafa Idrees, from Al Nama Group.
Ali Al Khalaf, a businessman, stressed the need to reframe the draft claiming that it wasn’t prepared in consultation with the Qatar Chamber. “A new committee should be formed with due representation of the Chamber to review the draft entirely,” he suggested.
Agreeing with him, a board member of the Chamber, Ali Abdullah Al Missned, said close coordination with the Chamber was essential to have a vibrant commercial companies’ law in the country.