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Public Procurement Law in Qatar

Guiding Principle

The winning of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar has already and still will result in a high increase in development projects in Qatar to prepare the country for the big event. This unveils a large number of public invitations to tender, which will attract foreign investors to participate. The interest in the projects is high and the run on participating in the projects has already started. On this occasion we herewith would like to provide you with an overview of the Public Procurement Law in Qatar.

Tender Procedures in Qatar

A. Introduction

The Tender Law in Qatar, Law No. 26 of 2005 as amended by Law no. 22 of 2008 (“QA-Tender Law”) regulates all contracts of public works, services, and supplies. The QA-Tender Law applies to all ministries, governmental services and public institutions.

B. Tender Committees

The Supporting Committes for tendering in Qatar are:

  • The Central Tenders Committee (the “CTC”) (Art. 12 et seq. QA-Tender Law)
  • Specialized Tendering Committees (Art. 18 QA-Tender Law)
  • Local Tendering Committees (Art. 18, 60 QA-Tender Law)

1.  The Central Tenders Committee

The Central Tenders Committee of the Ministry of Economy and Finance is responsible for processing the majority of public sector tenders. It administers tenders and bids including awarding on behalf of most government organs and sets the standards for rules and regulations for bidding procedures. Information about tender can be obtained under the website of the Central Tender Committee http://www.ctc.gov.qa/main-en.aspx.

The purpose of the oversight role of the Central Tenders Committee is among others:

  • To ensure the fairness of the technical evaluation and financial companies and select the best company technically and financially.
  • To ensure that a neutral party between the applicant and the companies works as a link between them.
  • To preserve public property of the state through presentations to ensure to select the most viable technically and financially

2.  Specialized Tendering Committees

Further, supporting committees for tendering in Qatar are the Specialized Tendering Committees. The Specialized Tendering Committee identifies and invites the bidders to participate at the limited tenders.

3.  The Local Tendering Committees

The Local Tendering Committees are responsible and specialized in supervising the procedures of announcing local tenders, receiving, opening and considering their bids, and expressing recommendation on awarding thereof to the best bid.

C. Forms of Tender

The QA-Tender Law provides three types of tenders:

  • General/Public Tenders (Art. 3, 24 et seqq. QA-Tender Law);
  • Limited Tenders (Art. 4 QA-Tender Law);
  • Local Tenders (Art. 5, 60 et seqq. QA-Tender Law).

1.  General/Public Tenders

The General/Public Tenders are the widest form of tenders. They are the common tender form in Qatar and advertised internally and/or externally and internationally and have an open tender process. Generally, everybody, locals and foreigners, without being registered in Qatar, can take part in Public Tenders. The bidders are all equal and there is a generell freedom of competition. The authority inviting to tender may decide on whether a tender is public or not. For the performance of the tender, foreigners may open a branch in Qatar, which is restricted to the contract resulting from the tender.

2.  Limited Tenders

The Limited Tenders are restricted to a specific number of bidders and apply in cases requiring particular expertise or capabilities. The bidders are identified and invited by the special tendering committee.

3.  Local Tenders

The Local Tenders apply for contracts with less than one (1) million Qatari Rials and are restricted to local suppliers. Bidders must be registered in Qatar and the bids are advertised only internally in Qatar.

D. Tender Procedure

1.  Prequalification of Contractors / Suppliers

For larger projects, the CTC normally invites pre-qualification documents from short-listed foreign and/or local contractors or merchants. The Government announces invitations to pre-qualify in local and/or foreign papers and occasionally through Qatari embassies abroad. The QA-Tender Law provides for classification of contractors by a committee operating under the CTC. The classification process is based on the firm’s financial strength, business reputation, and experience.

2.  Invitation to Tender

All government procurement contracts are subject to the provisions of bidding and tender regulations included in the QA-Tender Law.

The concerned governmental body prepares the tender and the Central Tendering Committee advertises the tender in Qatar in two local daily newspapers and on the notice board at the central tender committee headquarters and the relevant government entity. Outside Qatar, the tenders are usually published by state’s embassies (Art. 25 QA-Tender Law). The advertisements for tenders must contain a minimum of informations as provided in the Law (Art. 26 QA-Tender Law), including but not limited to rules for submitting the tender, the authority to which the tenders are submitted and the date for opening the sealed envelopes.

3.  Submittal Procedure, Art 27 et seqq. QA-Tender Law

The tenders have to be submitted together with a tender bond in sealed envelopes, on time and in accordance with the specific rules.

To avoid any disqualifications, the application documents should be filled in properly. Arabic is the official language in Qatar though English is widely used. Bids should be in Arabic unless the tender document specifically indicates that English is required or accepted. If not stated otherwise, the bid-currency is Qatari-Riyal. Specifications generally conform to European standards. Foreign companies wishing to participate in government procurement programs may be required to have a local agent and provide bid and performance bonds. It is prohibited for a bidder to be a member of any tendering committees or an employee of the governmental entity. The prohibition extends to the partner, sponsor/agent, employee and/or member of the board of the bidding entity or any other person that has an interest in the tender. The bidders must comply with the terms and conditions of the tender documents and amendments to the tender documents are not allowed. They must contain fixed overall prices. Adjustments of the overall price after submittal is not possible.

4.  Accepted Tenders, Art. 41 et seqq. QA-Tender Law

Tenders, which have been accepted, are referred to the relevant governmental body. The committee choses, convenes, deliberates and nominates the most suitable tender. Provided all technical specifications are satisfied, the contract is generally awarded to the bidder with the lowest quoted price. The successful bidder will be notified and invited to sign the contract with the concerned governmental authority (Art. 52 QA-Tender Law). The final guarantee must be deposited by an acceptable bank guarantee letter from a local bank before the execution of the contract.

5.  Contracting after successful rewarding, Art. 44 et seqq. QA-Tender Law

Foreign bidders must have or establish a legal presence in Qatar for performing the contract. Therefore foreigners participation in tenders in Qatar are more or less restricted to general, international tenders. For the performance of the tender, foreign companies may, according to the foreign investment law, open a branch.

E. Participation of Foreign Companies in Tender

Foreigners can generally participate at General Tender, however, however, by the time a contract is ready to be signed, participating foreign firms may need to have a local presence. Qatar generally gives preferential treatment to contractors that include high local content in bids for government tenders.1 Qatar is not a signatory to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement. The WTO Agreement on Government Procurment is based on the principles of openness, transparency and non-discrimination, which apply to parties’ procurement covered by the Agreement to the benefit of parties and their suppliers, goods and services.

July, 2011 Roueida Hamdan
Meyer-Reumann & Partners – Dubai
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