Don’t hold events sans permission

By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT: May 3 – The holding of entertainment events, seminars or symposiums without prior approval from the authorities is illegal, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has said. Those found violating rules will be subject to laws and rules governing such acts in the country. The ministry, vide circular No 5/2017, has said the permission should be obtained from the authorities three months in advance after furnishing details about the event and the speakers. Topics of seminars/lectures should also be submitted to the authorities. MoCI’s new decision is aimed at regulating event management business in the country, where there are nearly 20 companies operating in the sector. Only half a dozen companies are licensed to hold events. Many unlicenced companies have been operating without prior approval from the authorities, flouting laws pertaining to event management.

“Event management business in Oman is a highly disorganised sector and there are more unlicenced players than the legal ones,” says the head of a leading advertising and event management company on condition of anonymity. Most of them hold either entertainment or corporate events, seminars and workshops, and promotional events. When it comes to endurance or adventure events, the safety and security aspects are often compromised, say experts in event management. “More regulations are need of the hour. Safeguarding the security of performers and others involved in the events will certainly have a bearing in the longer run,” he said. Many licensed event manage-ment companies are found to be sub-letting their licences to a third party for a fee, which is not permitted by law.

When an event is held, the authorities concerned are: Muscat Municipality, Royal Oman Police, Immigration Department, and Ministry of Information, Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Heritage, as the case may be. In a month, 25-500 events, including seminars, workshops, counselling sessions and training programmes are held across the country at hotels and other venues. A majority of them are not licensed to host speakers. “If there are laws governing advertising agencies and public relations companies, event management companies too need to be put under the scanner for their smooth functioning,” said a representative from another leading PR agency.