Foreign investments

Oman launches several incentives to attract foreign investment

The Sultanate of Oman – like most countries in the world – has adopted economic stimulus plans in an effort to overcome the economic repercussions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has negatively affected the supply and demand of the ‘economy.

This was stated on Sunday by Qais bin Mohammad al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, during the thirteenth ordinary session of the third annual session of the ninth term of the Majlis Ash’shura.

He said the ministry was working in cooperation and integration with various units of the state administrative apparatus to develop sets of facilities, incentives and procedures to increase the contribution of sectors related to the ministry.

The ministry is working to continue efforts with its government and private sector partners to achieve greater successes in the next stage in the field of developing national industries, raising the level of domestic and foreign trade. and improving the business environment to attract local businesses. and foreign investment to achieve sustainable development in the Sultanate of Oman.

Al Yousef said the incentives include attracting foreign investment, improving operating levels, such as incentives to improve the business and investment environment, in terms of boosting overall supply, in particular – allowing business, trade and investment activities to obtain an initial license without pending final authorization, the treatment of foreign investment companies is the same as that of domestic companies with regard to the business registration fee, granting residency to foreign investors under certain controls, besides labor and employment market incentives, the most important of which are reduced license fees for expatriate worker recruitment and renewal of the work permit.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

“It is expected that the application of such measures will lead to an increase in production, therefore an increase in supply, which will have a positive impact on economic growth and employment,” he added.

Regarding the contribution of the trade sector, the minister said that the contribution of internal trade to the GDP of most commercial economic activities, including wholesale and retail trade activity (at current prices) has increased by 8.60% and stood at approximately 2.847 billion ro. at the end of December 2021, while it stood at around RO 2.464 billion during the same period in 2020.

The contribution of service activities to GDP also increased by 50.20%, reaching approximately RO16.571 billion until the end of December 2021, compared to approximately RO15.563 billion during the same period of 2020.

The contribution of the wholesale and retail trade also amounted to around 8.60% due to the gradual opening of the service activity sectors after the vaccination of a large part of the citizens and residents and the remoteness of the repercussions of the pandemic.

COMMERCIAL EXCHANGE

Regarding trade, the Minister said that the Sultanate of Oman’s total trade with countries around the world has increased to about 28.986 billion ro until the end of 2021, registering an increase of 47, 1%.

The number of commercial registrations registered with the ministry increased by 7.54%, reaching 349,894 registrations until the end of December 2021, while the number during the same period of the year 2020 reached 325,369 registrations .

The total number of transactions made through the “Invest Easy” platform reached approximately 789,493 in 2021, with an increase in transactions of 39.03% compared to 2020.

Regarding e-commerce, Al Yousef pointed out that the ministry has observed that global commerce is moving towards e-commerce, which explains the reasons for the high percentage of its contribution in general and the shortage of stores.

“For this, the Ministry has assigned, within its administrative division, a special department responsible for implementing and regulating the e-commerce plan in such a way as to preserve the rights of the trader and the consumer. Indicators show a clear recovery in trade records; it is an indication of the return to normal life, and these statistics confirm that we have entered the phase of economic recovery and growth and we look to the future with optimism,” he added.

INDUSTRIAL SECTOR

On the performance of the industrial sector at the beginning of the tenth five-year plan, the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the GDP until December 2021 was 9.70%, with a total of RO 3.195 billion, while the growth rate of industrial activities was around 13.6% by the end of December 2021. The manufacturing sector – which is one of the non-oil economic diversification sectors – recorded a high growth rate during this period, amounting to around 9.70%.

According to the Minister’s statement, the reasons for the increase in the contribution of the industrial sector can be attributed to the increase in domestic demand for petroleum derivatives from refineries (gasoline, diesel and others) following the lifting of the ban and recovery from the pandemic, and the rise in the prices of petrochemicals, fertilizers, iron and aluminum in international prices due to the recovery from the pandemic (Covid-19).

The Directorate General of Industry periodically implements industrial surveys which are an essential part of an integrated system of national industrial statistics, as they provide information on establishments and their activities, and collect data on all industrial establishments operating and licensed in the Sultanate of Oman.

“In 2020 (January-December), the manufacturing sector contributed an added value of RO2.27 billion to the economy, which represents about 8% of the gross domestic product of RO28.44 billion in the same year according to the NCSI. In 2021 (January-December), the manufacturing sector contributed an added value of RO3.2 billion to the economy, which is about 9.7% of the GDP of RO33 billion in the same year. By comparing the full year statistics for 2020 and 2021, it can be seen that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP has increased from 8% to 9.7%. Yet, comparing the years 2020 and 2021, it can be seen that non-oil goods increased from RO3.03 billion to RO5.79 billion, while total merchandise exports increased from RO11.73 billion. RO to RO 17.06 billion,” the minister added.

Regarding the investment sector, the volume of foreign direct investment in the Sultanate of Oman was around RO8.079 billion in 2019, while it was about RO15.861 billion in 2020, with a growth rate of 18.4% during the ninth five-year term. To plan.

The volume of foreign direct investment in the Sultanate of Oman amounted to RO16.43 billion in the third quarter of 2021, an increase of RO876 million compared to the same period last year.

The oil and gas sector accounted for 67.8% of total foreign direct investment, followed by the manufacturing sector with 9.2%, then the financial intermediation sector with 8.8%. The real estate, rental and commercial projects sector contributed with 7.1%, while the other sectors contributed with 7.1%.

In order to promote investment in the industrial sector and create ready-made investment opportunities, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion has launched the initiative of 100 industrial investment opportunities , which included the first batch of 50 opportunities in 2021. The second batch, however, included (22) industrial opportunities in 2022. This batch was characterized by the existence of prior purchase contracts in coordination with private sector partners – Petroleum Development Oman, Nama Holding Group and Mazoon Dairy Company.

“Work is underway to launch 28 investment opportunities for different activities with the aim of finding investment opportunities in the industrial sector and presenting them to investors,” the minister said.

He also added that the most outstanding efforts of the ministry during the last period were the establishment of a solid legislative structure stimulating the business environment in harmony with the various authorities, the success of the facilitation of the digital transformation of services, where 88% of licenses have been converted to automatic licenses, by revising and reducing the price of government services, the reduction rate of which has reached more than 90%, by providing incentives that have limited the effects of pandemic and preparing an integrated investment system based on international best practices.

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