HE Prime Minister Holds Comprehensive Dialogue with Local Newspapers' Editors-in-Chief

  • 7 months   ago

HE Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani affirmed the keenness of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to hold the Shura Council elections, according to the constitution and fair and transparent procedures to strengthen the Qatari Shura traditions and develop the legislation process and enhance citizen participation.

In a comprehensive interview with the Editors-in-Chief of Qatari newspapers, HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, talked in detail about the forthcoming Shura Council elections, the new retirement law, the unrelenting campaign against corruption, enhancing government services, and a host of other key issues.

HE the Prime Minister noted what was stated in the speech of HH the Amir on the 3rd of November last year during the opening of the 49th session of the Shura Council, in which HH the Amir affirmed that "the preparations for the Shura Council elections have almost reached their conclusion, and will take place in October... We are taking an important step in strengthening the traditions of the Qatari shura and developing the legislative process with a broader participation of citizens." HE the Prime Minister also noted HH the Amir's assertion that "elections are not a criterion for national identity. The identity of Qatar has crystallized over time and appears in its best forms in the solidarity and cohesion of our society, its tolerant moral values, and its love for its homeland."

HE the Prime Minister stressed that the State is keen to confront all forms of corruption, including administrative corruption and negligence, which among its forms obstruct the interests of citizens.

HE the Prime Minister also emphasized the State's keenness to combat corruption in all its forms and manifestations on a permanent and public basis. Thus, for the first time a statement is issued by the Public Prosecution at the same time when the former Minister of Finance was summoned for interrogation, and this confirms the extent of transparency followed in this regard, he explained, adding that the laws regulating the procedures for trying ministers, including the court for their trial, have been changed so that everyone is equal before the judiciary. He continued: "Qatar is a state of institutions, and our strategy in combating corruption does not depend on specific individuals, but through legislation and supervising bodies.

On the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) and the State's efforts to contain it, HE affirmed that the government has succeeded in dealing with the crisis since its inception. He added: "The government's efforts succeeded in containing the pandemic, and we have overcome the effects of the last wave of mutation variants (British and South African) last March." He said: "from the first moment, the idea of a complete closure was rejected by the government, due to the lack of a clear study even in the countries that implemented it, and we adopted the implementation of deliberate measures for each of the activities and areas to limit the spread of the virus."

His Excellency said that according to the plans of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program, approximately 72 percent of the total eligible persons will have received at least one dose of the vaccine this week, noting that the early investment in these companies allowed the State of Qatar to have priority in obtaining the vaccine.

He noted that the health sector and cadres played a major role in preventing the spread of the pandemic, as well as the commitment and trust of community members in the precautionary and preventive measures taken by the concerned authorities also had a significant contribution to the decline in injuries.

On Qatar's preparations to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, His Excellency stressed that they are progressing well and at an accelerated and distinguished pace, despite the difficult circumstances that swept the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HE said that the repercussions of the COVID-19 affected the progress a little at the beginning, but due to early preparations, they have succeeded very quickly in facilitating the guarantee of the arrival of the required materials in coordination with the companies working on the World Cup projects.

His Excellency said that Qatar is ready to host the tournament in all respects, whether completing the construction and equipment of stadiums and infrastructure related to the World Cup projects, which are being worked on at very excellent rates, and that a large number of World Cup stadiums have been completed and are already ready to host matches, as a number of them already hosted important football events.

Currently, preparation work is continuing in 3 stadiums: Lusail, Al Thumama and Ras Abu Aboud. He said that Lusail Stadium is the main stadium, which will witness the final match of the World Cup on Dec. 18, 2022, has become 90 percent ready. He referred to the 2021 Arab Cup taking place in December will show the capabilities of the State of Qatar in hosting major tournaments a year before the start of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and will also reflect the efficiency and readiness of the country's infrastructure and World Cup facilities.

HE stressed that the infrastructure for the World Cup is ready in all respects and at the highest levels, including a transportation network and various services such as accommodation and health care. He added that in general, things are going well and according to the set plan.

On the public attendance of the World Cup, HE Prime Minister said that when the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 comes, most countries in the world will have vaccinated and immunized their citizens. However, due to the possibility that some countries will not be able to vaccinate all their citizens, the State of Qatar will not allow fans to enter stadiums without receiving a full vaccination against the virus, HE added that Qatar is currently negotiating with a company to provide one million vaccines in order to immunize and vaccinate some those coming to Qatar.

He added that the primary goal in vaccinating some of those coming to Qatar to attend the World Cup is to protect the public health of citizens and residents.

His Excellency referred to what was raised about the rights of workers in the State of Qatar and said that securing a decent life for expatriate workers is at the forefront of the State of Qatar's priorities, such as reforming labor laws and practices related to it to achieve a system appropriate to the needs of both workers and employers.

Qatar implemented pioneering and wide-ranging reforms to strengthen labor laws to ensure the protection of the rights of migrant workers over the past few years, and all these reforms will not harm the interests of business owners because they are made in a framework of balancing the private interest and the public interest, HE Prime Minister said.

During past years, the State of Qatar has responded to many malicious campaigns that promote incorrect information and numbers about the conditions of expatriate workers which were refuted and found that they have foreign agendas to undermine the reputation of the State of Qatar, His Excellency pointed out.

On the new retirement law, His Excellency said that the directives of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, require ensuring a decent life for retired citizens.

His Highness directed to raise the minimum retirement pension to QR 15,000. A long period of nearly two years has passed since the State reviewed the retirement law, and the draft law is currently in its final stages of preparation. Procedures for its issuance will be taken soon after referring it to the Shura Council for debate.

The law to be issued will include many articles that are in the interest of the retiree. There are amendments to the law to add housing allowance, as well as amend the provisions for "loans", to keep pace with the burdens of life and meet the aspirations of retirees and ensure a decent life for them.

In response to a question about the strategy to advance administrative competencies and improve the performance of ministries and government agencies. HE said: "We have gone through many experiences in the process of advancing administrative competencies in various ministries and institutions and the upgrading of the level of job performance.. My vision as prime minister is that we can advance national competencies through clear and accurate plans and studies, and to achieve this goal we have formed a government competency committee, which will finish its work soon. One of its main objectives is to improve the performance of government agencies and develop clearer job descriptions, as well as study the changing of the competencies of some ministries and reviewing some government agencies. Among the tasks of the committee is also to put in place the necessary reforms in human resources systems to address the increase in manpower in some entities, to avoid a shortage of employees in others, and re-study and organise job privileges. In fact, there are challenges we faced in preparing the government efficiency plan represented in the lack of precise statistics, we are working hard to beat that."

In response to a question about the future of the tourism sector in Qatar, His Excellency said: Our tourism facilities are not up to the desired ambition that we are looking for, as there is a difference in the prices of hotels and various tourist facilities.. We have 5-star hotels with high levels of service, and there are hotels and other facilities with a low rating and their services are limited, and between this and that there are no facilities or services of an average rating, despite their great importance and that they are the most widespread in most touristic countries, which are needed by multiple categories of tourists and visitors."

He continued: " we pursue to create new places that suit and interest all segments of society and tourists.. Legislative tools for restructuring the tourism sector will be issued soon, and the supervision of the regulators to this sector will be related to the Prime Minister. There is concern to follow up the quality of services and prices in resorts, hotels and tourist facilities constantly to be accessible to everyone because this is important for a large segment of society."

"We also have a complete national strategy to develop the tourism sector, which will include the development of beaches, which is an integrated project that includes many areas, and the Tourist Leader Program, which will prepare specialists to accompany tourists during their tour, to explain the landmarks to visitors and provide complete information about the country's landmarks. The "Visit Qatar" application, which was launched last March, is an application on smart phones, to be a digital travel companion for visitors, citizens and residents, so that they can explore the heritage and cultural sites as well as tourist events planned to be held in the country.. We seek to advance the tourism sector in order for it to be an honorable civilized interface for the past, present, and promising future of Qatar, and an essential supporter of the economic diversification program." he added. (QNA) 

 

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Lusail Stadium, the largest among the Qatari stadiums, is 90% ready.

Prime Minister and Minister of Interior H E Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani has said that the preparations for hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 are progressing at an accelerated pace despite the exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19 pandemic all over the world.

“The pandemic had some minor impact in the beginning, but because we started preparing early, we succeeded quickly in ensuring the delivery of the required materials in coordination with the companies working on the World Cup projects,” said the Prime Minister.

He stressed that Qatar is ready to host the tournament in all respects, whether completing the construction and equipment of stadiums and infrastructure related to the World Cup projects, which are being worked on at very excellent pace.

“Most of the stadiums, part of the mega sport event, have been completed and they are ready to host matches. Where some of them already hosted important football events,” said the Prime Minister adding works on three stadiums is going on namely Lusail, Al Thumama and Ras Abu Aboud.

“Lusail Stadium, which will hold final match of FIFA World Cup on December 18, 2022, has been 90% completed,” said the Prime Minister.

He said the 2021 Arab Cup next December, Allah willing, will show the capabilities of the State of Qatar in hosting major tournaments a year before the start of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and will also reflect the efficiency and readiness of the infrastructure and World Cup facilities in the country.

The Prime Minister stressed that the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup is ready from all aspects and at the highest levels, including a transportation network, and different services including accommodation, and health care facilities. “In general, things are going smoothly as planned,” he underlined.

Speaking about the plan to deal with the influx of fans to Qatar, in case some of them are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Prime Minister said: “When the time of FIFA World Cup 2022 comes, most countries of the world would have vaccinated their citizens.” However, he said, given the possibility that some countries will not be able to vaccinate all of their citizens Qatar would not allow fans to enter stadiums without receiving full doses of vaccine.

“Therefore, we are currently negotiating with a company to provide with one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate non-vaccinated people coming to World Cup Qatar 2022. “Our primary goal in vaccinating some of the people coming to Qatar to attend the 2022 World Cup is to protect the public health of citizens and residents, as well as to protect the fans participating in the tournament,” he underlined.

Labour rights protection

Qatar’s reforms which protect the rights of expatriate workers and are widely praised by the most important human rights groups and UN organizations, make Qatar a role model in the region in labor market reforms\

Regarding the efforts made by Qatar to safeguard the rights of expatriate workers, the Prime Minister affirmed that ensuring a decent life for expatriate workers is a top priority for Qatar, noting the reforms in labor laws and practices are meant to provide an appropriate system for workers and employers as well.

He explained that Qatar implemented, during past few years, many key reforms to strengthen labor laws and enhance the protection of migrant workers rights.

The reforms reflect our morals, traditions, principles and teachings of true religion of Islam, which does not allow workers to be mistreated or to be deprived of their rights, but rather are keen to ensure a decent life for them.

The Prime Minister said there are individual actions by some companies, or as a result of the greed of merchants, represented in the failure to provide adequate housing, disruption of payment of wages, and failure to guarantee the most basic rights for workers within the framework of balancing private interest and public interest.

“These reforms reflect our morals, traditions, principles and teachings of true religion of Islam, which does not allow workers to be mistreated or to be deprived of their rights, but rather are keen to ensure a decent life for them, address individual cases and violations of some individuals or companies, and take strict and deterrent measures against them.”

H E the Prime Minister pointed out that reforms which protect the rights of expatriate workers and are widely praised by the most important human rights groups and UN organizations, make Qatar a role model in the region in labor market reforms.

“These reforms are effective and long-term, and are the result of years of thoughtful planning, positive interaction with feedback from Qatar and abroad.” He stressed that Qatar faced, during the past years, many malicious campaigns that include spreading false information and statistics about the conditions of expatriate workers. “We have refuted many of these allegations and found that they were running foreign agendas with vested interests to undermine the reputation of Qatar,” said the Prime Minister.

Source: QNA

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