Oman launches major initiatives to promote investment

Ministry of Commerce said that its next action plan was for economic diversification, growth, job creation, and raising Oman’s rating in international indicators

  
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion unveiled a number of initiatives related to commercial, industrial, and investment sectors, competition protection, and monopoly prevention, as well as those for investment promotion.
 
It said that its next action plan, which is in line with Oman’s vision 2040, was for economic diversification, growth, job creation, and raising the Sultanate of Oman’s rating in international indicators, local value-adding, promotion of foreign direct investment, balanced development in all the governorates, and the promotion and diversification of exports.
 
The ministry has said that the contribution of the commerce sector to the GDP during the year 2020 made through service activities was RO 9,285.4 million, wholesale and retail trade RO 1,066.5 million, and real estate activities RO 882.3 million. The industrial sector’s contribution to the GDP through manufacturing industries was RO 1,589.2 million last year.
 
The ministry said that the total foreign trade during 2020, according to geographical distribution (international groups), which includes Africa, the Gulf countries, America, Oceana, Asia, northern Europe, and western Europe, was RO 14,889,186,311. The total imports amounted to RO 9,38,268,488.
 
The total trade volume reached RO 23,927,454,799. The trade balance reached RO 5,850,917,823. This is according to the statistics released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information.
 
The ministry said that the total volume of foreign direct investment in the Sultanate from important countries till the end of the first quarter of 2020 was RO 15,64,10,000. It was from the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, China, Qatar, India, Bahrain, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
 
The Sultanate of Oman got rankings in the Ease of Doing Business Index 2020 report. It is one of the international economic indicators released by the World Bank annually in cooperation with the International Finance Corporation, which covers ten areas of business or basic indicators: starting a business, obtaining building permits, getting electricity,, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, electricity supply, and resolving insolvency cases witnessed as from 2019. In this, the Sultanate got 68th position among 190 countries in the rankings of 2020 which meant its advancement of 10 points from 2019 in the Ease of Doing Business Index. The Sultanate’s ranking advanced in 8 areas out of 10 areas in the 2020 report. The Sultanate has also made improvements in 4 indicators: getting electricity, registering property, protecting investors, and trading across borders. The Sultanate has also achieved global best practice in one criterion only, which is minimum required capital within the index of starting a business.
 
The total number of companies registered last year reached 14,632. The total transactions done through the InvestEasy portal reached 566 which is an increase of 5% from the transactions done in 2019. The number of transactions related to permits and certificates of origin reached 61,000.
 
The total capital of 15 closed Omani joint-stock companies was RO 66.5. Last year, the total capital of 14,000 companies registered under the Foreign Investment Law reached RO 5.5 billion. The 1400 companies subject to the investment law registered with total capital amounting to RO 188 million. There were 2,400 transactions related to services of commercial agencies were recorded. The number of patent applications that were registered last year reached 529, including 90 applications from Omani inventors, and 160 complaints related to e-commerce.
 
The Ministry said that during January and February this year, 78 industrial permits were issued for industrial establishments. In 2020, the industrial sector saw registration of 465 establishments for which customs exemptions were given and an initiative for 100 industrial opportunities was launched in cooperation with partners. This was done in two phases of 50 each. For this a feasibility study was prepared as the first stage in various sectors such as mining, chemicals, plastics, food, etc.
 
This information was revealed during the first virtual media conference held at the Diplomatic Club. His Excellency Qais bin Mohammad Al-Yousef, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Investment Promotion, Dr. Saleh bin Said Mosin, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Investment Promotion for Trade and Industry, and Her Excellency Aseela Bint Salem Al-Samsamieh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Investment Promotion for investment promotion, officials of the ministry were also present there along with a number of journalists and media professionals.
 
His Excellency Qais bin Muhammad Al-Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, said: These initiatives and plans are aimed at facilitating procedures and helping in promotion of investment opportunities, bringing quality investments in sectors of economic diversification, creating appropriate environment for the success and development of all investments, empowering private sector and motivating it to invest, transfer investments to them, further develop industrial sectors, strengthen in-country value-added programs in partnership with the private sector, improving trade balance, enhancing market share of the Omani products, ensuring achievement of free competition rules, enhancing principle of decentralization, developing a competitive business environment, in addition to integrating technology in improvement of institutional performance, providing services, and empowering projects by solving the challenges faced by the commerce and industry while making contribution to the GDP.
 
He said: Recently, many facilities were made available for the trade sector. They are linked with the tax authority to get tax numbers, consumer protection for commercial permits, with some government agencies for automatic approval. There are many other facilities and relaxations made available by the ministry to promote commercial activities and investments. Most of such facilities are online and automatic and match with the best in the world. They are to get more and more investment and make the commercial and industrial work smooth.
 
Dr. Saleh bin Said Mosin, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Investment Promotion for Trade and Industry, talked about the facilities which were made available for import and export activities. He particularly mentioned the work being done in coordination with the Oman Aviation Group and Asyad.
 
He said that several initiatives were made which are related to the commerce sector. They are particularly regarding the rules and regulations governing commercial activities. The main objective of this legislative process was to curb illegal practices and safeguard the rights and interests of those who are fairly involved in commerce and trade.
Saleh bin Said Mosin said that in the initiatives and plans industry sector was also the major focal point. Apart from making rules and regulations, lots of facilities were announced to set up
industrial projects as part of industrial strategy 2040.
 
He said that during all initiatives taken to promote trade and industry in the country locally made products were given priority. He said that due to the ‘Made in Oman’ campaign the sale of Omani products has spiraled by 100%. In all such activities, it is ensured that standard specifications are never ignored.
 
Speaking at the occasion, Her Excellency Aseela bint Salem Al-Samsamieh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment Promotion for Investment Promotion, said that the number of countries which have applied for investment through the “Invest in Oman” platform has reached 137 who have made a total investment of USD 26 billion. She said that this platform linked the aspiring investor with the relevant institutions of various economic sectors. It also shows investment opportunities in the Sultanate of Oman. Companies can display their projects and commercial opportunities on it.
 
The platform is an integrated guide for investors which has data on the investment opportunities offered by the Sultanate in Various sectors, along with other benefits. She said that the promotion of the ‘Invest in Oman’ platform was part of the promotion of investment opportunities in the country.
She said that the “Invest Easy” portal was still very popular among investors. It saves money and time for the users who want to make transactions.

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