THE SMART WAY TO PROCEED

Qatar 2019 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

By streamlining processes, removing duplications, and improving service delivery, the government is doing everything in its power to improve the country's ease of doing business.

Salman Kaldari
BIOGRAPHY
Salman Kaldari has extensive experience in the public and private sectors and a reputation for finding innovative solutions to complex challenges. With 14 years of experience in institutional development, technological deployment, and administrative improvement, he has done much to ensure the operational efficiency and the digital transformation of Qatar. Turning existing resources into investment opportunities, he has led and managed many strategic programs responsible for Qatar's digital transformation, including but not limited to the Qatar Digital Government and Qatar Clearance Single Window Programs, which provide individuals and businesses greater access to government services and improved government efficiency. He graduated from Qatar University with a bachelor's in computer science and obtained an MBA from Plymouth University in England.

What were the grounds for establishing The Single Window?

Qatar's Single Window is one of the initiatives that highlight the government's commitment to the ease of doing business and removing barriers for local and foreign investors. It focuses on three main areas: excellence in service delivery, namely delivering investor-focused licensing and registration services, which includes comprehensive information and end-to-end transactional services; optimizing government operations by streamlining processes and removing duplications in tasks, regulations, roles, and responsibilities, reducing the cost per application by achieving cost efficiencies through technology, and automating any low-level tasks to increase government workforce competitiveness; and providing a single version of business licensing and registration services. This will enable the government to identify challenges that may hinder the licensing process and act quickly to resolve them.

What are some of the transactions that can be made online?

These include exploring Qatar in terms of business opportunities, the laws, investment environment, and so on, and planning one's business by providing tools, data, and case studies to help investors as they plan and set up a business. This includes registration and licensing for local and foreign businesses and foreign labor recruitment approvals. Other areas include managing one's business in the form of renewing and updating licensing data and information, as well as closing down a business.

The Single Window started the “Own your Factory in Qatar" initiative to help investors in the industrial sector. What does this entail, and how has it gone so far?

We looked at what Qatar currently imports and saw a shortfall in local production. This initiative was thus fueled by a strong shift from local and international investors toward manufacturing and local packaging. The “Own Your Factory" initiative seeks to speed up manufacturing and support entrepreneurs to be part of the Qatari economic growth cycle. However, what made “Own Your Factory" unique was an increase in demand for Made in Qatar products, a strong industrial infrastructure with water, electricity, and gas, and highway access to the Hamad airport and seaport, and an up-to-date market study on what Qatar is eager to have, which was converted to manufacturing opportunities. We cover eights sectors—food, energy, mechanical, metal, chemical, medical, paper, and primary materials—with a total of 75 subcategories. Other advantages include a single window that acts as a one-stop shop to license and open a business in Qatar, and offering investors 100% ownership to attract greater foreign investment. Own Your Factory initiatives was a success to the community and economy and saw 55 successful entrepreneurs get land, completed industrial licenses, and pre-approvals for financing in certain industries. The other great outcome of the “Own Your Factory" program is seeing greater interest from international brands keen to have a presence in the production arena, which will enliven the market variety and consumer tastes.

Apart from helping companies get started in Qatar, what kind of market information can be found on the platform?

On the platform, investors can find information on business opportunities, datasets for planning purposes, case studies from different industries, laws and regulations governing the different industries, and the process and procedure for every business activity, all delivered in a simple and easy way. Through a smart questionnaire, The Single Window will recommend the requirements that an investor will need to adhere to.