Jassim Abdullah Al Malki
DOHA: A proposed inter-ministerial committee to be formed soon will earmark areas for commercial activities across the country.
A severe shortage of shops and showrooms, especially in Doha, mainly due to large-scale demolitions, has pushed up rents many-fold in the last few years.
A lack of commercial space has been felt in Doha’s near and far-flung suburbs, which have seen a sharp rise in population.
Moreover, service-oriented outlets including government services, audit, legal and engineering consultancies, among others, also need to spread out to cater to the rising population.
The proposed committee to be set up by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce is to look into such aspects and earmark new areas.
The State Cabinet, at its regular weekly meeting yesterday, approved the Ministry’s proposal to have a law that would enable it to set up the aforesaid inter-ministerial committee, QNA reported.
The committee is to have representatives from the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, and other government bodies, said a senior public representative.
“It is important that the CMC is also represented on this committee,” Jassim Abdullah Al Malki, Vice-Chairman of the CMC, told The Peninsula.
“We represent 29 civic constituencies spread over the entire country, and we are familiar with the issues facing people, so our presence on this key panel is essential.”
Asked about neighbourhood stores and other such outlets in residential areas, whose licensing period had been extended to three years beginning 2012, Al Malki said the CMC had urged the government to let them operate as long as an alternative location was not found.
The committee will likely look into this issue and earmark space for commercial centres that would accommodate all neighbourhood shops in every locality.
Al Malki said the panel will also determine licensing rules for shops and other commercial activities. “We need new commercial and administrative areas everywhere, especially in the expanding suburbs.”
The CMC office-bearer said administrative areas refer to those places where service-oriented outlets can be set up. “There are a number of related issues to be studied by the committee.”
Al Malki added that there was huge shortage of commercial areas and shop rents in Doha were going sky-high after large-scale demolitions.
Therefore, new commercial streets, he said, are needed to house shops and showrooms.