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Malek Helali
Qatar has now given priority to national products unlike prior to the siege when the private sector in the country had to compete with many companies from the blockading countries, Chairman of the Qatar Society of Engineers (QSE) Engineer Ahmad Jassim al Jolo said, expressing optimism that the private sector will lead the country to self-sufficiency.
In a recent interview with Qatar Tribune, the QSE's top official urged the private sector to seize the opportunity and play a greater role in Qatar's economy.
Jolo was commenting on the recent set of directives issued by Qatar's Prime Minister and Minister of Interior to promote the private sector's contribution to the country's economic development.
According to Jolo, the new generation is more interested in entrepreneurship opportunities, noting that the PM's incentives will further motivate young entrepreneurs to lead the country towards self-sufficiency in many essential products.
"I think the impact of these incentives will be significant," Jolo said.
He added that Qatar Development Bank is playing a great role along with the Ministry of Economy and Commerce in supporting young entrepreneurs.
"It is becoming easier to initiate business projects as one does not need a big office and can work from anywhere. Online-based businesses like Facebook and Twitter for example do not need factories or large budgets to make profit, and are now even bigger than companies like General Motors," Jolo said.
"With the emergence of the digital age and the Internet providing easier access to information, there are so many opportunities waiting for individuals to capitalise on. It shouldn't only be about profit, but young entrepreneurs should look for something they are interested in and focus on developing it," Jolo noted.
According to him, promoting sustainability and green building is part of QSE's goals.
Jolo said that effective initiatives were taken by government organisations such as Ashghal and Qatar Foundation (QF) as most of their buildings are sustainable.
He noted that Ashghal's minimum requirement for all its projects are three-star rating on the GORD sustainability rating system while QF is aiming towards the platinum rating which is the highest.
"Even for commercial malls, there is a certain process of energy auditing even though they don't follow a certain rating system," he added.
The QSE chairman noted that"awareness is existent but it needs some time to develop".
"Government organisations are heading towards more sustainability for sure, but the private sector's involvement needs some time to mature as they are mainly focused on profit," he explained.
As for the private housing of average citizens, Jolo said there needs to be more awareness of sustainability, especially that average citizens do not pay electricity bills and, therefore, show less interest in energy saving.
"There are currently no stiff regulations but we are moving in that direction. The Qatar Green Building Council is pushing towards legislation to promote sustainability," he added.
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