MUSCAT: The State Council on Tuesday at its third session gave assent to the report on the study pertaining to the establishment of free zones in Al Buraimi and Musandam performed by the Economic Committee and decided to submit it to the Council of Ministers after including the remarks of the members. The session chaired by Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh Al Mantheri, State Council Chairman, held in the presence of members of the Council and Dr Khalid bin Salim Al Saidi, Secretary-General of the Council. The Chairman of the State Council in his speech said that the session discussions would focus primarily on discussing the Economic Committee’s study on the establishment of free zones in the governorates of Musandam and Al Buraimi.
The Council then continued to discuss extensively the Economic Committee’s study on the ‘Establishment of free zones in the governorates of Al Buraimi and Musandam’, and Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Harthy, Head of the Economic Committee reviewed the efforts exerted by the committee relating to the study, which covered three axis. The first included economic, private and industrial freedom in the Sultanate and its nature. The second focused on the challenges facing the Sultanate’s own free and economic zones and the means of coping with them, while the third focused on the need to establish free zones in the governorates of Musandam and Al Buraimi, with the aim to attract foreign and domestic capital through investors.
Al Harthi noted that the study discussed the main challenges facing the work of the free and economic zones and concluded with specific recommendations to address them. The committee recommended considering the governorates of Musandam and Al Buraimi as free zones and that the government may identify and allocate parts of those areas in each governorate, and the two governorates will play an integrative role with the existing free zones.
It will promote local development and sufficiency and provide jobs for the citizens of the governorates, facilitate the issues associated with the passage of goods and attract investment in advanced industries to add a competitive advantage to the proposed free zones created in the two governorates. With regard to free zones and the logistics sector, the study recommended the amendment of the Free Zones Act (No 56/2002) in view of the current challenges; link the free zones, special economic zones policy, and the logistics sector strategy to the policy of diversifying sources of income.
It must also standardise rules and disciplines applied within free zones in the field of registration, licensing and control, and achieve optimum competition between free zones to attract investment and contribute to the development, growth and rehabilitation of free zones to attract investment, and to create an improved investment environment that contributes to the revitalisation of industry.