Emir: Time to move Qatar’s people off of social welfare and into action

Qatar’s Emir at Advisory Council opening session

“No one” expected last year’s rapid drop in energy prices, but Qatar must now deal with its new economic reality head-on, the nation’s Emir has said.

In a strong speech during the opening session of the 45th Advisory Council today, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani emphasized the need to cut subsidies that lead to “extravagance and waste.”

He also urged greater efficiency in government and pledged to stimulate the private sector, as Qatar prepares to roll out its new five-year plan.

Summing up the new strategy, Sheikh Tamim said:

“When I see on the streets of Qatar the phrase “Qatar deserves the best,” I say, “Qatar deserves the best from its sons” – implying that only the nation’s children can guarantee its future.

The speech follows the same tone of last year’s address, during which Sheikh Tamim said the government can no longer “provide for everything” and that a shift in priorities was needed.

National Development Strategy 2017-2022

Sheikh Tamim began his speech with a nod to his late grandfather, former Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, who died last week.

“With his departure we lost one of our most prominent leaders and builders of modern Qatar … his scented memory will remain vivid in the minds and hearts of all Qataris,” the Emir said.

He then explained some of the objectives of the upcoming National Development Strategy 2017-2022, which include:

  • Completing all 2022 World Cup-related projects and infrastructure on time;
  • Shifting some of the responsibility for health and education projects from the state onto the private sector;
  • Transitioning from a nation of “simple social welfare policies” to “a state of action” by empowering citizens; and
  • Cutting the fat in government.

Call to action

The Emir also acknowledged that many objectives in the current NDS have not yet been met, and added that a full evaluation of why is taking place.

Qatar World Cup bid celebration, 2010.

Sean Knoflick/Flickr

Qatar World Cup bid celebration, 2010.

That document was drawn up shortly before Qatar was awarded hosting rights to the World Cup and thus did not factor in the country’s rapid expansion, tournament deadlines and high project costs.

Sheikh Tamim concluded by saying: “Wealth alone is not enough and citizenship means affiliation (sense of belonging).”

“We have the right to offer the citizen education, training and employment and it is their right to do their job to the fullest.”

See the text of his prepared remarks here.

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