By Sarah Townsend
Country must to develop culture of work and achievement, says Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
Qatar must fight a “culture of consumption” among its citizens in order to survive in a low oil price environment, its prime minister has urged.
In one of the strongest public austerity calls made by a GCC leader, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said the country had challenges to overcome in a new fiscal reality, and that policies should be put in place to curb spending and encourage people to contribute to the local economy.
In a speech during the opening session of the 45th Advisory Council on Tuesday, reported by state news agency QNA, Al Thani said: “There are challenges that we should tackle, which are related to the motives and values of the youths and the impact of the culture of consumption on these motives and values.
“Without that we cannot move forward; wealth alone is not sufficient. Citizenship is an affiliation, which incorporates rights on the part of the state as well as duties towards the community and the state.”
Among the proposed reforms he outlined in his speech – which included privatising some state-run health and education services – were a review of subsidies offered to citizens on some products and services.
The Emir said he wished to curb “extravagance and waste” and instead develop a “culture of planning, work and achievement”.
The Emir was speaking ahead of the launch of the Second National Development Strategy 2017-2022.
He said: “[One plank of this new strategy is for a] continuous review of tariffs and fees for many services and commodities to better reflect their economic cost, and to direct subsidies towards the targeted groups in need in a way not conducive to extravagance and waste.”
The Qatar Foundation (QF) is one of the few roses of the GCC in terms of education, spirit and culture.