MUSCAT, JULY 3 – Seeking to enhance Oman’s appeal as an investment destination, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) plans to set up an Investment Service Centre which will exclusively focus on assisting “strategic investors” get their businesses up and running with minimum hassles and delays. The proposed facility will supplement the ministry’s hugely successful ‘Invest Easy’ portal, which enables Omani entrepreneurs to access a wide array of government e-services, such as: starting a business, updating company info in the commercial register, finding information for licensing terms, submitting digital licence applications, preparing financial reports, and so on.
The ‘Investment Service Centre, on the other hand, will primarily cater to investors planning an investment in excess of RO 3 million. Its principal mandate is to provide efficient services to such investors and assist them in the speedy start-up of their businesses.
Efforts to get the Investment Service Centre into full operational mode are being overseen by the Implementation Support & Follow-up Unit (ISFU) — a task force set up under the auspices of the Diwan of Royal Court to accelerate the delivery of various initiatives mooted under Tanfeedh — The National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification.
Already, space has been allocated within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for the hosting of the Centre, while an acting head has been appointed as well. “The aim of the initiative is to make the Centre completely operational during 2018,” ISFU said in a report.
Separately, ISFU is looking to strengthen the role of Ithraa — the Public Authority for Investment Promotion & Export Development — as the nation’s principal vehicle for investment promotion. This is sought to be achieved by unifying investment promotion efforts and aligning investment facilitation roles of various government and public sector organisations.
“The initiative aims to boost Ithraa’s responsibilities by making it the sole authority for investment promotion in Oman,” the ISFU report explained. “Ithraa will work in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and other relevant government bodies to communicate and encourage investors to invest in the Sultanate. By 2020, this initiative seeks improving coordination on nationwide promotion and investment activities which will be accomplished through alignment and defining of clear responsibilities to support foreign and local investors.”