MUSCAT: A dedicated national payment gateway designed to facilitate ecommerce transactions in the Sultanate of Oman is currently under development, according to the Central Bank of Oman (CBO).
The announcement comes on the heels of the launch, earlier this month, of a framework regulating ecommerce activities, by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion. The regulatory framework – part of the National Ecommerce Strategy – seeks to foster the growth of a vibrant, safe and robust marketplace for ecommerce aimed at opening up investment, business and employment opportunities. It requires market players and ecommerce stores to, among other things, register their particulars with a view to curbing the potential for fraud and abuse.
The Central Bank says it is working with the Ministry, among other stakeholder institutions, in establishing a payment system necessary to underpin the seamless operation of a flourishing ecommerce industry.
“With a view of taking further the digitalization of payment and settlement system in Oman, the CBO is actively involved in developing a national payment gateway for ecommerce. This initiative is being undertaken in close coordination with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Consumer Protection Authority, and other organizations,” the apex bank stated in its newly released 2022 Annual Report.
The initiative is part of a broader endeavour by the Central Bank to promote digital payments via the development of comprehensive Payment and Settlement Systems (PSS) and support infrastructure. This goal is being pursued in conjunction with efforts to bolster the resilience of the banking and financing industry in the face of potential threats posed by cyber criminals, it noted.
Significantly, a National Payment Gateway will enable Oman-based ecommerce operators and stores to transact business in a safe, secure and cost-competitive manner. At the same time, customers have the underlying assurance of transparency and accountability in their online dealings.
Ecommerce players license to operate in Oman are also mandated to adhere to local regulations on matters related to, for examples, disputed payments, returned goods, disparity in delivered goods, and so on. Likewise, transaction fees are minimal in comparison with those involving the use of overseas payment gateways.
Around 180 categories of products and services have been approved for transactions via ecommerce by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion. To date, around 57 companies have been licensed to engage in ecommerce in the Sultanate of Oman.