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BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: The sponsorship system could be modified or improved by the concerned authorities, if it becomes an obstacle in attracting human talent from overseas, a senior official of the General Secretariat for Development Planning (GSDP), told reporters yesterday.
“We are ready to tackle all the difficulties coming in the way of developing Qatar as a ‘knowledge economy’. We want to make sure that our economy is sustainable, efficient and competitive. If a particular law that you are referring to becomes hindrance in attracting human talent to develop Qatar as a knowledge society, concerned authorities will take care of it as and when required”, Dr Saleh Mohammad Al Nabit, Secretary-General of GSDP, told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop on “Knowledge Economy in GCC”.
Under the existing sponsorship law it is mandatory for an expatriate worker to obtain his sponsors’ consent for changing job or travelling to his home country.
Commenting on the sponsorship law, Dr Nabit further said: “This was a procedure needed in the past. It could be modified or improved to serve the economy.”
Replying to a question how and when the system could be changed, he said: “I don’t know, and I cannot be specific because I am not the one who is responsible for this. But everything can be improved when circumstances demand.”
Asked to comment on the population growth, and whether it constitutes white-collar workers coming to contribute to develop knowledge society or it is the influx of blue-collar workers, he said: “I don’t have the latest statistics and the exact classification of this increase.”
“For every country that needs to move forward to become a knowledge economy, they need to advance four key issues, namely, improving the business climate; improving the quality of education; better use of information and communication technology (ICT); and preparing conducive environment for innovation. It needs to cover all the four areas and not just one or two of them”, Jamal Al Kibbi, Programme Manager at World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa region, told The Peninsula.
He added that Qatar and other GCC states are trying to move ahead. And there is definitely encouragement from the top. The real issue is how these countries are doing compared to others. “You might be doing well, but if others move faster than you, effectively you are not doing enough. So the challenge is to keep an eye on what others are doing and how fast they are moving.”
The two-day workshop aims to discuss the concept, challenges, opportunities and relevant international experiences to develop Knowledge Economy in the GCC states.The Peninsula