Muscat: The electoral process to the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry(OCCI) which began at 8 am today has been progressing at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center (OCEC).
The election is being conducted to elect 21 members from 125 contestants to the OCCI across the various governorates for a period of four years (2022-2026). As many as 15,000 voters are expected to cast their ballots today.
The voting that saw a lukewarm opening in the morning has got warmed up by noon and a large number of people are seen gathering at the voting centers located at the OCEC, Dhofar region, Northern Sharqiya, Southern Sharqiya, North Al Batinah, South Al Batinah, Al Wusta, Al Dhahirah, Ad'Dhakhaliya, Al Buraimi, and Musandam Governorate, according to reports from the voting centers.
Expatriates for the first time:
For the first time in the history of the country, members of public shareholding companies and foreign companies who have investor residency are allowed to contest to the OCCI board and it confirms the transparency and inclusiveness of the country.
Accordingly, nine expatriates are contesting along with Omani candidates in the elections to the Board of Directors of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) and to the BoD of OCCI branches.
Muscat Governorate has 27 contestants while Dhofar 11, Northern Sharqiya 8, Southern Sharqiya and North Al Batinah has 10 each, 9 from South Al Batinah, 6 contestants from Al Wusta, 8 from Al Dhahirah, 6 from Dhakhaliya, 7 from Buraimi, and 8 candidates from Musandam Governorate.
In addition, there will be 6 members representing Oman's Public Shareholding Companies, and 9 foreigners who hold the golden visa under the long-term residence status in the category of Foreign Investors Companies.
Results will be out and published in all media outlets after coordinating with all the committees across the country. The steering committee will check the results before approval. There will be a reception for the elected at the OCEC.
The Election Commission chaired by Dr Saleh bin Saeed Musan, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Investment Promotion for Trade and Industry (MoCIIP), paid a visit to the voting center in the capital governorate.
Dr Mohammed bin Rashid al Badi, Member of the BoD and Deputy Head of the Steering Committee said "Voting is going as planned and the election committees appointed in all governorates which are connected with the steering committee and have been working well from the morning. The number of people has increased and most of the voters are in Muscat and the main committee is ready to receive the election results and give out the information of the results by evening. Hope all things will go as decided and hope there would not be any challenges."
"These elections are very crucial for the OCCI especially after the Royal Decree 56/2022 increasing the number of members of the board of directors from 15 to 21 and then there are 5 from SAOG companies from Muscat Securities and one from the investors this is the first time that foreign investors are encouraged to take part in the OCCI procedures. The changes will be in favour of the private sector and will be serving the vision 2040. There are five seats and there are 21 candidates vying for the positions some of them are very senior and some are new and we are hopeful of continuity," said Eng Redha bin Juma al Saleh, Chairman of the present BoD.
"The process is easy and I just voted myself. The amount of enthusiasm and eagerness that we can see in the voters is a clear indication that the awareness has been truly beneficial in creating a sense of responsibility and the importance of voting among the voters. More than 5,000 companies and 17,000 voters are participating in the elections," said Engineer Siham al Harthi.
"Hopes are high and I have a clear-cut blueprint of things to be done if I am elected to the Board, thanks to the Royal decision to encourage investors to take part in the electoral process. For sure, efforts will be to attract more foreign direct investments to the Sultanate in various projects that are currently undergoing and will always be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Omani authorities in executing the projects to their fullest," said Abdul Lateef, Managing Director of Badr al Samaa Group and one of the expatriate candidates vying for the position.