As part of its initiative to modernize the way in which it does business and centralize the registration of economic establishments in Qatar, the Cabinet recently approved a draft law on the implementation of a national unified economic registry (“Registry”). Once launched the Registry will document Qatari enterprises, corporate entities, and foreign branches operating in Qatar through the issuance of a specific registration number. In addition, the introduction of the Registry should streamline the process of registering transactional and company-related documentation.

The Registry is intended to serve several purposes. First, the Registry will record the business type and its transactional history in a centralized database for easy reference.  Second, maintaining such a database can pave the way to more effective regulation of businesses operating locally. The registration system could potentially enable the government to keep a close track on violators, as well as provide a more vigilant means of monitoring compliance. Third, by issuing a single unified identification number, the government could potentially eliminate duplication between the various Ministries and agencies.

If the Registry is made accessible to the public, it could increase transparency and consequently encourage more foreign investment by enabling people to locate suitable business partners in the country. Additionally, such transparency could also compel local businesses to be more diligent in their transactions and dealings in Qatar. Regarding the registration of individual enterprises, the Registry should ensure that these individuals are qualified and have the necessary credentials to practice their professions. The Registry could also serve to protect the public from potentially detrimental business partners.

The Registry initiative is the first of its kind in Qatar and should be a leap towards modernization and a more effective regulation of the private sector by simplifying the registration process. The Registry could also act as a one-stop shop for prospective investors, entrepreneurs and professionals. If executed properly the Registry could further spur foreign investment in Qatar.