Neighbourhood markets project launched

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The markets would come as a boon to those people who would normally travel to Doha to pick up even the most basic commodities. The ministry has launched the project in collaboration with Qatar Development Bank and the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning. The project is to be carried out in three phases.

The shopping centres would basically boost outlets such as eateries, pharmacies, supermarkets, laundries, bakeries, meat shops and the like. The rent for each shop would be QR 6,000 a month and tenants would also be required to furnish a bank guarantee of QR 50,000. Al Furjan shopping centres are ready in some areas like Al Thumama and Ain Khalid but the entire 645-shop project at the 44 locations is expected to be ready for allotment in a few months.

Allotments are to be made through lottery, registration for which begins from 11 May and would continue till 18 May. Only Qatari companies with a valid licence are eligible to apply. Al Furjan is the plural of the Arabic word ‘fereej’, which means a neighbourhood.

Remote areas

The markets are being built by the government in the remotest areas of the country where there are no shopping facilities. Two types of shopping centres (big and small) are being built at 44 remote locations across Qatar and they include areas in the north, south and other areas as well as far-flung suburbs of Doha. An Al Furjan shopping centre will on average have 15 shops. Bigger centres would have more, besides having ATM booths, post offices and self-service kiosks.

Temporary licences

However, the markets are not the same as envisaged to accommodate neighbourhood stores currently operating from residential areas and which need to be relocated since their licences are temporary. Licences for neighbourhood stores were given a long time ago as an Emiri gesture to widows and other economically weaker members of the Qatari community. A ministerial decision was passed in 2006 to relocate these stores since they are all housed in residential buildings, including villas.

The Ministry of Economy, however, has been putting off enforcement of the 2006 decision since arrangements have not yet been made to relocate them. The Central Municipal Council (CMC) has been urging the government to keep renewing the licences of these stores until a suitable alternative can be found. T

The ministry recently issued another decision renewing the licences of these stores for three years beginning from early July this year. The Cabinet, at its weekly meeting on 7 May, put its seal of approval on the ministry’s decision extending the licences of these stores until early July 2017, Qatar News Agency has reported.

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