Under the patronage of the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior HE Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, the ‘National Product Week’ began in Doha on Sunday.
Inaugurated by the Minister of Commerce and Industry HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Thani, the ‘National Product Week’ is being organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with Qatar Development Bank from March 13 to March 19.
The opening ceremony was attended by Qatari Businessmen Association Chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, Qatar Chamber Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Civil Service and Government Development Bureau President Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) President Engineer Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari and Qatar Airways CEO and Qatar Tourism Chairman Akbar Al Baker.
At the beginning of his opening speech, the minister stressed the importance of the National Product Week initiative, as it comprises an additional building block to the many achievements that have contributed to supporting Qatari products.
It also represents the culmination of a long process of success, starting at the brainstorming phase, followed by that of production, and then market access, in addition to going through the stages of development, training, and continuous supervision aimed at raising the efficiency and ability of national companies to win supply deals and tenders.
In this regard, he valued the continuous cooperation with the relevant authorities and partners that have contributed to succeeding, especially the Qatar Development Bank that launched several pioneering initiatives such as the virtual platform for coordination meetings ‘Meet Your Manufacturer’ to support Qatari companies and introduce buyers to local manufacturers.
The minister added that about 190 companies were registered on the platform, and the value of the contracts signed amounted to over QR63 million. This comes in addition to organising four successful editions of the Government Procurement and Contracting Conference and Exhibition (Moushtarayat) since 2016, in which the total value of deals amounted to QR3.042 billion.
Moreover, an initiative to promote buying national products was organised in three distinct editions, which were held in extraordinary circumstances and under great challenges.
The minister pointed out the efforts to enhance cooperation with other government agencies and bodies such as Kahramaa that has a presentation scheduled during the event on an integrated procurement plan for the next five years, in addition to the close cooperation with Katara Hospitality, with which the value of local contracts amounted to about QR21.3 million last year.
He said that coordination has been made with the national carrier, Qatar Airways, by concluding several procurement contracts with national companies since 2019. The value of contracts last year amounted to about QR100 million, which were offered to national companies specialised in the food and beverage industry.
On a related level, he noted the keenness to enhance continuous cooperation and coordination with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) in implementing many other initiatives aimed at accelerating the localisation of supply chains.
The minister stated that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had taken on encouraging national industrial institutions to increase their productivity, in line with the determinants of the Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022 and the Qatar National Manufacturing Strategy, so it had launched the joint framework contracts initiative in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and Hamad Medical Corporation. In this regard, the minister said, the initiative primarily covered the pharmaceutical and medical equipment sector, and its scope will be expanded to include other sectors, in coordination with the concerned authorities.
He added that work has been done to raise the level of access to national goods and products to the largest number of sales outlets in the country. This is being achieved by allocating about 50 percent of the exhibits to Qatari products, in addition to meeting and coordinating with more than 30 governmental and semi-governmental agencies to motivate them to give priority to national products and increase their purchases in this field.
In the context of talking about the industrial sector in Qatar and the ministry’s achievements in this regard, he announced the launch of the ‘1,000 Opportunities Initiative’, comprised of an electronic platform within the Single Window Platform.
It allows local investors to view the existing and future opportunities and projects that would meet their various needs in terms of products or services provided by local private sector companies, he said pointing out that this initiative is expected to contribute to providing significant investment and economic opportunities that would benefit the industrial sector, which has seen remarkable development during the past years.
Qatar is currently witnessing a remarkable increase in the number of factories operating therein, bringing their number today to more than 806 factories, he said, pointing out that the established industrial facilities have introduced new products, amounting to over 845 ones produced over the past year.
The minister noted the increase in the value of investments in the food products industry in 2021, knowing that these investments have amounted to QR5 billion, an increase of 69 percent compared to their value in 2017.
For his part, QDB Acting Chief Executive Officer Abdulrahman Hesham Al Sowaidi expressed his appreciation for the continuous support of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to national companies that work alongside the QDB support system to ensure their growth ambitions and enhance their contribution to the national economy.
He said, “In the National Week, we celebrate Qatari products and encourage SMEs by promoting their products. We look forward to the active participation that we are well-accustomed to, of all members of the Qatari economic system and society members, to push our companies to new levels of development and excellence, in line with the goals of national development and economic diversification.”
The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of a number of stakeholders including the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Public Works Authority, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation, Qatar Airways, and Katara Hospitality.
It is worth noting that the National Product Week initiative is the first of its kind in Qatar. It aims to celebrate the success of Qatari companies and their products in various sectors, enhance efforts to localise supply chains, as well as support self-sufficiency and economic diversification efforts in Qatar.
The National Product Week includes a variety of events and activities over a seven-day period, including a conference that brings together a group of national shareholders and the most prominent actors in the Qatari economy to discuss a number of topics and issues related to national products.
The events also include specialised workshops, aimed at honing the capabilities of entrepreneurs, and enabling them to contribute to strengthening the private sector, in addition to a series of virtual bilateral meetings between various suppliers and buyers from various economic sectors, to find new cooperation opportunities among them, and open new horizons that serve the interests of all entrepreneurs, and also pour into achieving the forum’s goals.
Moreover, the National Product Week activities entail a virtual exhibition that includes virtual pavilions introducing a variety of Qatari products.