The authorities in Qatar have introduced two new important decisions as part of efforts to support businesses and the local economy.

Local value system to be used for government tenders

In August 2022, The Amir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani ratified Cabinet Resolution No 11 of 2022, amending some provisions of the Executive Regulations of the Law on Regulating Tenders and Auctions No 24 of 2015. 

Under these amendments, procurement processes in Qatar will now implement the in-country value
(ICV or local value) system – companies will now have to add ICV or local value certificates to their financial bids. 

The ICV certificates will be used as a measurement tool during the awarding of tenders to companies. Now, national products, companies with high local value, and those submitting the least expensive monetary bids after ICV calculation will be given preference during the procurement processes. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) will also now receive greater privileges and exemptions with more tenders available to them, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

MSMEs, which are defined by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), are now permitted to have limited participation in tenders valued under QAR5 mn. These companies are waived from bid and performance bonds and tender fees, providing their turnover is less than QAR1 mn, and are exempted from half the value of the fee prescribed for classification. 

The decision to amend the law is to increase the participation of non-oil sectors and the private sector in the local economy. 

According to Nayef Al Hababi, Director of Government Procurement Regulations Department at the MoF: ‘Perhaps one of the most important additions to the regulation is defining the local value of companies, which means the total amount spent by the contractor, supplier or service provider within the country to develop national business, services or human resources to stimulate productivity in the local economy. The local value is determined through a certificate of previously executed contracts and the plan presented by the bidder within his bid.’

The amendments also provide for clear guidelines on the timeframe for awarding tenders. Government agencies must organise the offering procedures within 60 working days, and sign the contract within a period not exceeding 20 working days from the date of the contractor submitting the final insurance. The contract must be implemented within 90 working days after its signing, but no later than 180 days. 

Specifying the duration of the procedures in the amended Executive Regulations aims to speed up procedures, improve the efficiency of tenders, and not incur any losses caused by the length of the previous procedures period. 

The new system is expected to provide valuable opportunities for local business owners, and attract foreign investors to set up businesses in Qatar.


The ICV system was previously in place for some government tenders in the oil and gas sector. The Ministry of Finance (MoF) launched the TAHFEEZ programme in 2021, aimed at enhancing local services and products in an effort to strengthen Qatar’s private sector and homegrown companies. The programme has three pillars: Qatar In-Country Value (QICV); Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG); and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The QICV pillar was launched in February 2019 and is itself an extension of QatarEnergy’s Tawteen programme. Phase 1, starting in Q1 2022, was available to contractors in collaboration with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), before extending to other government entities and institutions.


Ministry of Commerce and Industry launches provisional commercial licence service

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has joined forces with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour on a new initiative, launching a service to issue provisional commercial licences.

This is available for all commercial activities except for ‘administrative offices’, such as contracting, limousine and cleaning services.

The initiative is part of national efforts to support the private sector and ease the procedures for doing business in Qatar, while also allowing investors time to establish their business, complementing new online services and streamlined procedures.

According to the Ministry, the following conditions should be noted for the issuance of a provisional commercial licence:

• The provisional licence is valid for one year only, and it can only be renewed with the approval of the relevant authority.

• The provisional licence is issued without external approvals, so long as all necessary approvals are obtained when the final commercial licence is issued.

• The provisional commercial licence is not a permit to begin operating, but offers a period of time to establish business sites and obtain approvals from third parties – registration of the establishment, receiving labour approvals, provision of raw materials for the commercial project, adhering to any bank procedures and requirements, etc.

• A note will be placed in the title description, to the above condition’s effect: ‘a provisional licence, valid for one year from the date of issuance of the commercial licence. Practising the commercial activity is prohibited before all requirements are met.’

There are two stages for the issue of a provisional licence. Under Stage I, these requirements must be met: licence application form (provisional licence); lease agreement acknowledgment form; construction completion certificate, a building permit, or a contract with the State; and a copy of the applicant’s ID card. A provisional commercial licence can then be issued.

Stage II takes effect after the expiry of the provisional commercial licence, ie after one year, when applicants must submit the Civil Defence Certificate and the construction completion certificate (if not submitted in Stage I).

Applicants must also abide by certain provisions of Law No 5 of 2015 on Commercial, Industrial and Similar Public Stores and Street Vendors.

Article No 7 states that:

• The relevant department will decide on the licence application, informing the applicant of its decision the same day, providing the applicant has provided all requested documents.

• The applicant must fulfil any and all general and special requirements, as per the type of licensed activity, before practising the commercial activity.

Additionally, Article No 19 states that the licence shall be revoked if there are changes to the business site or licenced activity without receiving prior approval, if the business becomes inoperable, or does not meet the conditions stated in the licence.

Under Article No 20 ‘the licence shall be revoked in cases other than those stipulated in the previous article, if the public interest so requires.’

Any violations of Law No 5 of 2015 will attract penalties: imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, and a fine of not more than QAR50,000, or either of these penalties, shall be imposed.

For more information on government tenders, visit monaqasat.mof.gov.qa, The Unified Website of State Procurement. For setting up business in Qatar, see Investment and Trade, and visit moci.gov.qa and investor.sw.gov.qa


Author: Sarah Palmer

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