Obligations for Business Owners to Comply with When Working and Doing Business in Qatar
Whether you are a local investor or an expat business owner in Qatar, you have duties and responsibilities to fulfill to continue your business operations legally.
According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), here’s a set of obligations that you must comply with when working and doing business in the country:
1. Make sure to display the commercial register and license in a prominent place at the licensed site to avoid committing a legal violation.
2. It is necessary to place the license number on your shop’s sign to avoid committing any violations or being subject to penalties.
3. It is prohibited to house workers on the shop’s premises. If you are providing workers with housing within the shop, you must remove them immediately to avoid any penalties.
4. To avoid legal liability, make sure to renew the commercial register and licenses 30 days before their expiry.
5. Make sure to update information relating to the commercial register and commercial licenses in case of any changes.
6. Make sure to obtain the necessary approvals from concerned parties before signing the lease contract for service activities in a residential area.
7. When choosing a service activity in a residential area, make sure to comply with the urban planning and organizational standards by visiting the branches of the ministry in the area.
8. It is your duty as a merchant to provide detailed invoices to consumers. The invoice must be in Arabic in addition to any other language.
9. Check the name of commercial activities before applying for a commercial register through the ministry’s mobile application or by visiting the ministry’s nearest branch.
10. It is prohibited to conduct any commercial activity other than the activities permitted in the register and commercial license.
11. If you wish to offer promotions or discounts, you must first obtain a license from the Market Control and Licensing Department at the consumer sector. You can seek the approval through the electronic services of the Ministry: services.moci.gov.qa.
12. Please obtain preliminary approval from the Commercial Licenses department before signing the lease contract for the site to be licensed.
Selling Without a License and Street Vendors
In the recently concluded Awareness Seminar on “Common Crimes and Offences in Expat Communities” of the Ministry of Interior (MoI), the local authority has cited “Selling Without a License” as one of the typical violations committed by most foreign entrepreneurs in Qatar.
The Qatar law obliges anyone wishing to do business to obtain a license from the competent authority, even if such activities are carried out by selling goods on the ground (these include the street vendors).
MoI acts as the competent authority that determines the whereabouts of those vendors and sets the specific terms and conditions for them.
If any violation of these codes is found, the goods will be confiscated.
The authorities urge all merchants and shopkeepers to comply with applicable laws and regulations governing commercial activities.
Zero Tolerance for Violators
The Ministry stressed that it would not tolerate any negligence in terms of meeting obligations stipulated in Law No. (25) of 2005 and Law No. (5) of 2015, and that it would intensify its inspection campaigns to crack down on such practices.
Any party that violates laws and Ministerial decisions will be referred to the relevant authorities, who would take appropriate measures to protect consumer rights.
To avoid legal accountability and penalties, vendors are advised to review all applicable laws and regulations on the Ministry’s website www.moci.gov.qa.
The Ministry also urges all citizens and residents to report any violations or infractions related to registration and commercial licensing through the following channels:
• Call Center: 16001
• E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• The Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s social media accounts:
– Twitter @MOCIQATAR
– Instagram MOCIQATAR
• Website: https://www.moci.gov.qa/en/