Pearls from the Sea of Ambiguity
The following does not represent official policy, merely a sharing of experiences from work within the Qatar Ministries.
Profit distribution must now match shareholdings in MOAs
The Ministry of Justice’s insistence that all Memorandum of Incorporation should reflect a profit distribution in accordance with the shareholding, has met with numerous complaints, with many commentators saying that The Ministry of Justice should have no say in what the shareholders agree amongst themselves in terms of profit distribution. Some more adventurous PROs have discovered that visiting different branches of the MOJ can circumvent this. We understand that the matter is with the Minister and a decision is expected, possibly this week, on whether this will be reversed or not.
Virtual Office Space
Some confusion has entered the market, whereby enthusiastic landlords are telling prospective tenants that they will be able to get a Trade Licence against a ‘virtual office’ or ‘hot desk’. Our understanding is that this may well be possible in the future but will be aimed at one or two man businesses and the determination will be in accordance to the activity. This is an attempt to legalise the many small businesses operating in Qatar.
Driving Tests required for foreign nationals
The new rules concerning driving tests for EEC and Australian citizens have come in to force, however, it seems there may be some latitude for the Traffic Department to wave the test in certain cases. This, of course, will be taken on a case to case basis and no guarantees are attached.
Ministry of Environment Approvals
The Ministry of Environment’s new system for activity approval has come into force. Formerly, if activities required MOE approval, this would be supplied in writing prior to incorporation. The new system however, involves an on-line approval between the MOE and Ministry of Economy and Commerce. The system instantly hit a snag however, in that nobody in the MOE could ascertain who actually had to give final approval. The second and more major snag occurred when the MOE decided that they could not approve an activity and yet the Memorandum of Incorporation had already been stamped by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, the Ministry of Justice and had been registered at the Ministry of Justice. Now there is some argument amongst the three Ministries concerning how this should be resolved.
Ministry of Economy and Commerce queuing system
If your PRO is missing in action in Lusail, he is probably in a queue. The Ministry of Economy and Commerce have introduced an extremely rigid ticketing system and you can no longer wander around seeking out the counter staff that may help you. If you leave to carry out a minor amendment to a document, you must take a new ticket and cannot visit the staff that you dealt with earlier. This of course leads to confusion, as no two staff have the same approach.