Creating a favourable investment environment for Oman

The Royal Decrees promulgating a set of laws governing Bankruptcy, Public-Private Partnership, Privatisation and Foreign Capital Investment are a testament to the government’s efforts to create a streamlined and favourable regulatory environment for investment in all fields that serve the objectives of the Sultanate’s vision for the future and promote competitiveness of the national economy globally.
Furthermore, these laws reflect the government’s desire for the private sector to play a role in Oman’s development and creating greater job opportunities for the national workforce.
Herewith is a brief snapshot of the four key statutes:
Foreign Capital Investment Law
Promulgated by Royal Decree 50/2019, this new law seeks to promote the Sultanate’s position as an investment destination capable of attracting foreign capital. Further, it aims to enhance the Sultanate’s competitiveness in line with international indicators through the legislative system that governs business.
Key objectives:
n Streamlines procedures and permits necessary to start foreign investment within the Sultanate through the Investment Services Centre of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
n Expands investment sectors to foreign investors to include strategic projects that contribute to development.
n Offers advantages and incentives to attract foreign investment and grant the foreign investor the necessary guarantees for its investment project. For example, provide the foreign investment project with all advantages, incentives and guarantees granted to the national project in accordance with the applicable laws in the Sultanate. A decision by the Council of Ministers may decide preferential treatment for foreign investors in accordance with reciprocity principle.
Land and real estate required for the investment project may be allocated by way of a long-term lease or usufruct over the same, without being subject to the provisions of Royal Decree 5/81 regulating usufruct over the Sultanate’s land and the Land Law in accordance with the rules and provisions set out by the regulations after coordination with the relevant authorities .
The Foreign Capital Investment Law shall enter into force six months after publication thereof. The main bodies concerned with the Law are the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ithraa.
Public-Private Partnership Law
Promulgated by Royal Decree 52/2019, it defines the concept of partnership as a business or public service of economic or social importance in line with the Sultanate’s strategy. Alternatively, it could be designed to develop, improve or raise the efficiency of an existing public service.
Key objectives:
n Implement government policies aimed at improving the national economy.
n Encourage the private sector to invest in infrastructure projects and public services to contribute to the diversification of national income sources.
n Lay out a regulatory framework to manage the process of public-private partnership in a transparent and clear manner.
n Improve the quality of public services and reduce their establishment and operation costs, which contributes to relieving the financial burden on the State’s budget.
The Public-Private Partnership Lawsets out procedures for launching and awarding public-private partnership projects. It spells out the requirements for studying and evaluating public-private partnership projects. Additionally, it outlines the conditions for the establishment of public-private partnerships to manage partnership projects.
The Law identifies the basic elements and conditions relating to public-private partnership contracts. General provisions relating to regulation, supervision and grievance are also spelt out in the Law.
The newly proposed Public Authority for Privatisation and Partnership (PAPP) is the focal point for the implementation of the provisions of the Law.
Privatisation Law
Key objectives:
n Implement government policies related to expanding the role of the private sector in ownership and management of various economic activities.
n Encourage attracting investment, expertise, technology and knowledge.
n Raise resource management efficiency, improve services and create high-quality job opportunities.
n Develop the capital market.
The Privatisation Law, promulgated by Royal Decree 50/2019, sets out procedures for the launch and award of privatisation project, as well as guidelines for the privatisation of government facilities (restructuring.) It spells out the methodology for the disposal of revenues from privatisation initiatives.
Procedures for settling the status of Omani public servants working in projects affected by privatisation or restructuring are outlined as well.
The Public Authority for Privatisation and Partnership (PAPP) will oversee the implementation of this Law.
Bankruptcy Law
Key objectives:
n Create a legislative and legal framework that promotes the business environment by restructuring the procedures that enable businesspeople to overcome the debt stage.
n Organise the bankruptcy of branches or agencies of foreign companies operating in the Sultanate.
n Support distressed businesses to revive and resume their economic activity.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will oversee the implementation of this the Bankruptcy Law, promulgated by Royal Decree 53/2019.
The Law regulates, arranges and develops the bankruptcy provisions included in the Commercial Law promulgated by Royal Decree 55/90. It seeks to reconcile the legal provisions governing bankruptcy insofar as to resolve the issues identified by the concerned authorities.
A key feature of the Bankruptcy Law is ‘Restructuring’, which envisions a pre-preventive composition stage in which the concerned parties cooperate with distressed businesspeople aiming to support them to re-structure their business as well as encourage investment and entrepreneurship.
The Law organises the preventive composition according to the latest legislation.
It also sets out provisions on bankruptcy based on the rights of the bankruptee, creditors and the public interest, and develop procedures governing this matter.
The Bankruptcy Law shall enter into force one year after publication in the official gazette.