Shura Council Discusses Inflation, Increased Financial Burdens on Citizens

20 March 2023

The Shura Council held its regular weekly meeting on Monday at Tamim bin Hamad Hall under the chairmanship of HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim.
During the session, the council reviewed the Economic and Financial Affairs Committee's report on the request for general discussion submitted by Their Excellencies Council Member during the past legislative term regarding inflation, high cost of living, and increased financial burdens on citizens.
After extensive discussions on the report's conclusion and exchanging points of view on finding solutions to that issue by the members, the Council decided to submit a proposal to the esteemed government on the aforementioned issue.
The proposal included several axes and recommendations that should lead to reducing the impacts of inflation, as well as views that seek to address the issue of high consumer prices, providing realistic scenarios to deal with the high operational cost of goods and services, which will reflect on consumers.
Within the context of discussing the report, HE Speaker of the Shura Council Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim referred to the social and economic negative impacts of inflation and the high cost of living, which requires the concerted efforts of all concerned parties to address that issue.
His Excellency added that given the importance of that issue, it was raised during the Council's first legislative term, when the Economic and Financial Affairs Committee, since the previous term under the chairmanship of HE Mohamed bin Yousef Al Mana, has made commendable efforts to study all the aspects of that issue. During the current term, the committee completed those efforts to reach the report before you.
HE Speaker of the Shura Council indicated that the legislations enacted by the State to overcome the issues included within the request for discussion were tangible. His Excellency reviewed the major laws in this regard, such as the law on protecting competition and preventing monopolistic practices and what the law stipulated in terms of establishing a special committee to protect competitiveness, along with other relevant legislations and laws. His Excellency stressed that raising the issue by the Shura Council is a continuation of the government's efforts to address those issues.
His Excellency added that given the accelerating local and international economic changes and the issues that the world faces that impact the end-consumers, it has become necessary to raise that issue, follow it up, and discuss ways to address it and limit its effects.
During his review of the report, HE Chairman of the Economic and Financial Affairs Committee Ahmad bin Hitmi Al Hitmi pointed out the meetings held by the committee to discuss the issue by inviting a number of officials from concerned authorities, as well as seeking the opinions and analysis of specialized academics, analysts, businessperson, and citizens.
His Excellency indicated that the rise in prices included all sectors, with a noticeable increase in certain basic sectors, pointing out that other sectors were affected by that issue. His Excellency noted that these sectors are not considered basic or necessary in daily life, which calls for a change in the community's consumption pattern and culture.
Al Hitmi explained the reasons behind the inflation and high prices in Qatar, which he attributed to internal and external factors. He also reviewed a number of solutions and recommendations proposed by the committee to address the inflation and high prices, including those related to anti-monopoly policies, increasing allocated places for commercial activities, subsidizing basic commodities and materials, supporting the national product to increase its production in the local market, reviewing fees and taxes policies, and raising awareness of the important role of trader and consumer in that regard.
In turn, Their Excellencies the Shura Council Members praised the government's plans and policies to address inflation by implementing a package of measures that contributed to reducing the impact of inflation.
Their Excellencies stressed the need to carry out periodic reviews of the monetary policies and legislations along with measures of subsidy and work on raising awareness among businesspersons and consumers, given their responsibility in contributing to addressing that issue.
Their Excellencies the Shura Council Members called on the concerned authorities to protect consumers and monitor the prices by intensifying their campaigns on the market, encouraging free competition and working to prevent monopoly, providing all means of support for the local product and providing it in a bigger scale in the local market, as well as encouraging its export and support it to compete abroad. 
In today's session, the Shura Council's members pointed to the need to increase street and commercial areas in various parts of the country, allowing wide options for merchants, lowering rental and real estate prices, and reducing the cost of production which leads to lower prices.
They noted the need to support entrepreneurs, to strengthen small and medium-sized companies, to direct them to increase investment in the services and basic commodities sector, and to avoid focusing on specific sectors with a consumption and entertainment pattern only.
The members of the Council drew attention to the role of civil society organizations in confronting the phenomenon of excessive consumption by increasing consumer awareness and alerting them not to be led by advertising campaigns.
They also asked for more attention to the sectors of basic commodities and food production, to support national factories, companies and farms, and to enhance their capabilities for external competition, noting that the competitiveness of the national product and increasing its sales in foreign markets contributes to promoting its distribution abroad and reducing its prices internally.
The members of the Shura Council attributed inflation to other external factors such as high transport and freight costs to record levels, high energy prices, and interruption of supply chains, praising the state's good management of this file by taking a number of measures that contributed to maintaining the prices of basic goods needed by the consumer on a daily basis.
The Council also approved a draft law on documents and archives, after reviewing the report of the Information and Cultural Affairs Committee on it, and after the members of the Council discussed the provisions of the draft law. The said draft law aims to regulate dealing with public, historical, national and other documents and to classify, preserve and protect them.
The Council approved a request to extend the work of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee to study a draft law amending some provisions of the Customs Law promulgated by Law No. 40 of 2002.
During the session, the Council also reviewed a report on the participation of HE Sheikha bint Yousuf Al Jufairi in the meeting held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf in Riyadh last December, between the members of the legislative councils of the GCC countries and HE Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Arabian Peninsula Hannah Neumann.
The meeting dealt with the situation of women parliamentarians and politicians in the Gulf countries and the promotion of the role of women in parliaments. Presenting the report, Her Excellency said that the meeting exchanged views on the situation of women parliamentarians and politicians in the GCC countries and ways to empower women and enhance their role in the parliamentary and political fields, noting that she highlighted during the meeting the status enjoyed by Qatari women and the opportunities available to them in all sectors, and their prominent role in the parliamentary, diplomatic and all fields, thanks to the support they enjoy from the wise leadership.
The session was attended by students from the College of Business and Economics at Qatar University and the Community College, as well as a number of students from the Qatar Banking Studies and Business Administration Independent Secondary School for Boys, and students from the Qatar Banking Studies and Business Administration Independent Secondary School for Girls.