As usual the Year 2022 started with the presentation of the State Budget which estimated revenues at RO 10.58 billion, based on the price of oil at $50 a barrel.
However, the pre-budget media briefing last week revealed that the Sultanate of Oman's total government revenues surged more than 42 percent to RO 11.862 billion during January – October period this year, up from RO 8.333 billion in the same period a year ago.
Estimates of the state’s general budget until the end of 2022 indicate that the average price of oil is expected to reach $94, bringing revenues to RO14. 234 billion and spending RO13. 88 billion, to record a financial surplus of RO1. 146 billion.
The other major highlights of the year 2022 include the Sultanate of Oman lifting all remaining precautionary measures at airports from May 22, including the requirements for PCR tests.
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik issued directives to increase the sums accorded to Governorates Development Programme from RO 10 million to RO 20 million for each governorate during the current Five-Year Plan.
ROYAL ACADEMY FOR ADMINISTRATION
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik issued Royal Decree 2/2022, on the establishment of the Royal Academy for Administration with headquarters in Muscat, determining its competencies and approving its organizational structure.
AYN DIGITAL PLATFORM
The Ministry of Information launched Ayn digital platform, which will stream a large collection of Omani audiovisual content on smart devices. The project was launched as part of the plans and efforts to keep pace with the developments in the media, especially with the emergence of online or mobile streaming services.
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN AWARD
His Highness Sayyid Bilarab bin Haitham al Said launched the Bilarab Bin Haitham Award for Architectural Design to foster Omani talents in architecture, design, and urban planning. The award comes in line with Oman Vision 2040 for developing various governorates architecturally according to their environment and civilisational identity.
LPG PLANT IN SALALAH
OQ, the globally integrated energy group of the Sultanate of Oman formally launched the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant worth RO 318 million in Salalah for processing natural gas liquids (NGLs) extracted from gas networks into LPG besides a host of other refined petroleum products and petrochemicals.
Ibri Solar Project was inaugurated in the Wilayat of Ibri – the 500-megawatt utility figures among Oman Vision 2040 major projects. The project, established on an area of 13 million square metres, of which 1.5 million were accorded to the double-sided solar panel, uses more than 7,000 square metres of cables.
The Sultanate of Oman formally launched an electricity spot market, the first in the Middle East, to increase the efficiency of power procurement as part of the goals of Oman Vision 2040. The spot market will enable licensed generators for the first time to offer their surplus capacity at the most competitive rate.
The Minister of Labour issued a ministerial decision 97/2022 recruiting Omanis for permanent jobs in the state administrative apparatus on a contract basis. The contract must contain details about the duration of the contract, and salary (including allowances for housing, electricity, relocation, phone, specialized work if any).
BELGIAN KING VISITS OMAN
King Philippe Leopold Louis Marie of the Belgians, and his spouse Queen Mathilde Marie Christine Ghislaine d’Udekem d’Acoz of the Belgians, visited the Sultanate of Oman to review fields and aspects of common interest.
DUQM PORT INAUGURATION
At the behest of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, His Highness Sayyid Asaad bin Tarik al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs, Personal Representative of His Majesty the Sultan, officially opened the Port of Duqm.
The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism inked an agreement with Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran Group) for the management and operation of Bahla Fort and Oasis in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning unveiled a plan to build major cities in Muscat, Suhar, Salalah and Nizwa.
MUSCAT BOOK FAIR
The 26th Muscat International Book Fair was inaugurated by His Highness Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al Said, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth and it saw the participation of 715 publishing houses from 27 countries.
Mays Motors, one of the investments of the Oman Technology Fund, launched its electric car. The car’s acceleration starts from 0-100 km in 4 seconds and can cover 500 km on a single charge.
METRO TRAIN IN MUSCAT
Eng Said bin Hamoud al Maawali, Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, said there are plans to work on a metro railway project for Muscat as the authorities seek to develop the capital as a major metropolis in the coming years.
NEW FREE ZONES
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik has issued Royal Decrees establishing free zones at Muscat International Airport and in the airports of Suhar and Salalah. The free zones will be set up in the designated land plot according to the layouts attached, which are specified in the concluded concession agreements.
PROPERTY OWNERSHIP FOR NON-OMANIS
Dr Khalfan bin Said al Shueili, Minister of Housing and Urban Planning, issues a decision allowing non-Omani investors who hold a ‘First Class Residency Card’ to own a property in the Sultanate of Oman.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) launched two pilot projects to tackle obesity as the Sultanate of Oman faces a rising number of overweight cases and associated non-communicable lifestyle diseases like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart ailments. Obesity is one of the biggest challenges faced by the nation as more than half of the Omani population was found to be overweight.
WORK PERMIT FEES
The Ministry of Labour revised the fee for expatriate work permits from June 1. As per the Royal directives, the Ministry of Labour announced the new fee for expatriate workforce according to the profession. A 30 per cent discount is granted to companies that abide by the Omanisation percentage.
Six people died, and several others were rescued following the collapse of rocks at a worksite (quarry) in the Al Aridh area of the Wilayat of Ibri.
FLEXIBLE DUTY SYSTEM
During Ramadhan, the Ministry of Labour issued a decision to implement a ‘flexible duty’ system of operation in the units of the State’s Administrative Apparatus (public sector departments). Accordingly, an employee can attend the office from 8 am to 1 pm (first shift) or from 9 am to 2 pm (second shift).
EARLY RETIREMENT WITH FULL PENSION
A government employee in the Sultanate of Oman can retire early with a pension. Employees who have completed a period of 20 years in service starting from the date of the issuance of the Social Protection Law are entitled to retire if the draft law gets clearance from the Council of Ministers. Now the minimum age for voluntary retirement is 30 years.
The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has launched an electronic service for the transfer of vehicle ownership through the ROP website and smartphone application. The new e-service is available for nationals and residents on certain conditions. The car should be transferred to a new owner along with the existing number plate and the car registration should be valid.
ACADEMY FOR STRATEGIC AND DEFENCE STUDIES
His Majesty the Sultan issued Royal Decree 27/2022 on the establishment of an Academy for Strategic and Defence Studies and promulgating its system of functioning. The academy will have a legal identity and enjoy financial and administrative autonomy. The Academy shall report to the Ministry of Defence and shall have its headquarters in the Governorate of Muscat.
The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP) said that mandatory provision of electronic payment services to consumers came into effect on April 17.
IRAN PRESIDENT VISIT
Dr Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, paid a visit to Oman on May 23. The talks explored various aspects of bilateral cooperation and ways of enhancing the strong ties binding the people of Oman and Iran. The aim was to exchange views about issues of common concern.
GAS PIPELINE PROJECT
This project between Oman and Iran, which was first initiated in 2013, is now back on track with MoUs been signed by two countries for the two gas pipeline projects and the development of the Hengam oilfield.
TANZANIA PRESIDENT VISIT
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik held an official session of talks with President Samia Suluhu Hassan of the United Republic of Tanzania at Al Alam Palace. The talks explored the strong bilateral relations binding the two countries and ways of elevating them towards broader horizons to realise the aspirations of the people of the two countries.
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik issued 13 Royal Decrees, including Royal Decree No (34/2022) on restructuring the Council of Ministers. Three new ministers were appointed in the decree.
EGYPT PRESIDENT VISIT
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik held an official session of talks with President Abdel Fattah el Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt at Al Alam Palace, which reviewed the march of the distinguished relations binding Oman and Egypt.
ROYAL MILITARY ACADEMY SANDHURST (RMAS)
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik presided over the passing out of the 222nd Batch of officers at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), one of whose alumni were HH Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al Said.
In line with Oman Vision 2040’s energy objectives and the recent Royal directives to grow the green hydrogen sector in the Sultanate of Oman, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP) has issued specification standards for hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.
The Sultanate of Oman has been ranked among the top four countries in the world in the safety and crime index of Numbeo for 2022. Muscat has been ranked 20th globally on the safest cities index, with 79.46 points in the security index, and 20.54 points in the crime-committing index.
In the implementation of the Royal orders of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, a total sum of RO 4,073,070 has been endorsed to provide school supplies and daily nutrition, during the first semester, for government school students from Social Insurance and low-income families.
MUTTRAH SQUARE PROJECT
In response to the Royal orders of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik for the implementation of the Muttrah Square project, the winner of the first prize of the Bilarab bin Haitham Award for Architectural Design, an agreement was signed whereby the project will be handled by Muscat Municipality.
CARBON MANAGEMENT LAB
With a mission to establish a comprehensive national strategy and a unified operational plan towards achieving net zero emissions, Carbon Management Lab (CML) was held to keep pace with the development goals within Oman Vision 2040.
UAE PRESIDENT VISIT
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik and Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), held a bilateral meeting at Al Alam Palace. During the meeting, the two leaders reviewed the march of deep-rooted relations binding the two countries and the means of promoting them. They expressed their keenness to push these relations forward in various spheres to serve the interests of the Omani and Emirati peoples.
Oman Rail and Etihad Rail signed an agreement worth $3 billion (RO 1.160 billion) to establish “Oman Rail Company and Etihad Rail Company”, owned 50-50 by the two sides, to design and operate a railway network connecting Sohar Port and UAE National Railway Network. The agreement was signed between Oman Rail Company — a subsidiary of Asyad Group, and Etihad Rail Company.
STARS OF SCIENCE
Sumaiya bint Saeed al Siyabiyah of the Sultanate of Oman won first place in the Stars of Science programme. Earlier, she qualified for the final stage in the Stars of Science programme for her innovation in “Bio-analysis of microplastics in a new way of biological and nanotechnology.”
The first Omani satellite, Aman, has been successfully integrated with Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket. The satellite is now awaiting to be deployed into low Earth orbit by Virgin from Newquay, Cornwall.
AGA KHAN MUSIC AWARDS
The winners of the Aga Khan Music Awards were feted on Sunday at the Royal Opera House in Muscat. His Highness Sayyid Bilarab bin Haitham al Said presided over the award distribution and concluding ceremony of the second edition of the Aga Khan Award for Music (2020-2022) at the House of Musical Arts in the Royal Opera House Muscat.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken received here Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidy, Foreign Minister, to celebrate the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights, signed on December 20, 1958, as well as the long history of cooperation that began with its predecessor, the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, signed 189 years ago on September 21, 1833.
The Omani project 44.01, named after the molecular mass of carbon dioxide, is among five winners chosen for the Prince of Wales’s prestigious Earthshot Prize. Prince William announced the winners on Friday at an awards ceremony in Boston. 44.01 won the award after being shortlisted for the Fix Our Climate category last month. The annual Earthshot awards were founded by Prince William to fund projects that aim to save the planet.
FIFA FAN ZONE
The Football Fan Festival, a part of the ‘Oman World Cup Programme‘, has concluded with the World Cup 2022 in Qatar with over 92,000 visitors taking over the venue. It offered opportunities to organise more events for the country to celebrate, keeping in mind the mood of the market and the viability of the private sector.
Oman made history on Sunday when it successfully held fully digital municipal elections where nearly 40 per cent of the Omani voters cast their votes through a smartphone app to elect 126 council members representing 63 wilayats.
INTEGRATED GAS COMPANY
The Ministry of Finance has issued a decision establishing the state-owned Integrated Gas Company (IGC). The IGC will act on behalf of the Government of Oman in the management of all allocations, assets, rights, and obligations of natural gas purchase, sales, transport, imports, and exports, as well as all relevant products, the ministry added.