CMC pushes for pause as Qatar moves to shutter some 7,000 corner stores

In the latest push to push out grocery stores, barber shops and other small businesses from residential areas, Qatar’s Ministry of Business and Trade is recommending that their licenses not be renewed beyond Sept. 15, media reports state.

Some 7,100 shops are on the chopping block, much to the dismay of owners and residents alike, who have grown accustomed to the conveniently located facilities. according to a report in Gulf Times.

The government has long been working to remove the shops, which operate on licenses gifted by the Emir years ago to Qatari widows, divorcees and nationals in low-income brackets, from residential areas, contending they violate zoning laws.

Meanwhile, the Central Municipal Council has been pushing for the stores to be relocated into commercial complexes within residential areas.

The Peninsula reports:

“These outlets are quite crucial and people need them, so unless each residential area has the said shopping complex ready for use, their licenses are to be renewed,” (CMC vice-chairman Jassem Al Malki) added.

These outlets remain open until quite late in the night so they are quite handy and needed by people, so they can’t be wished away. “That’s why we are relocating them,” said Al Malki.

Small grocery stores (baqalas), tailors and other such retailers have been disappearing from Qatar’s streets in recent years.

Some have been displaced by construction on major projects such as Msheireb, while others have shuttered after losing customers following last year’s bachelor ban in residential areas.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Richard Messenger

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