eCommerce initiatives due to be rolled out this year

Muscat, MAY 12 – A number of initiatives outlined in a newly completed National eCommerce Strategy are expected to be rolled out for implementation during the course of this year, according to the Implementation Support & Follow-up Unit (ISFU) — a task force set up under the auspices of the Diwan of Royal Court to accelerate the Sultanate’s economic diversification. ISFU announced in a recent report that eCommerce projects identified in the strategy roadmap are scheduled to be rolled out during 2019.
Stakeholders in the formulation of the National eCommerce Strategy, as well as the delivery of these eCommerce initiatives, include the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), Central Bank of Oman (CBO), Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC), Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Supreme Council for Planning (SCP), Oman Global Logistics Group (Asyad), ROP Customs and Oman Aviation Group (OAG).
According to ISFU, Oman’s rankings in the eCommerce Index — an annual classification published by UNCTAD that shows the readiness of countries to engage in online commerce — have been improving year-on-year. In 2016, Oman scored 48.8 out of 100 (100 being the highest) and was ranked 65th out of 137 countries. A year later, the Sultanate scored 31 out of 100 and was ranked 64th out of 144 countries. Last year, Oman scored 57.2 out of 100 and was ranked 72 out of 151 countries.
“In order to see improvement in the eCommerce index, the first step is to develop and implement a national level of eCommerce strategy. The strategy will be the reference for the implementation roadmap and a framework for all government and private sector entities participating in the project rollout. It will use Oman’s international eCommerce ranking as a proxy for the quality of service that is provided and for the competitiveness of the industry when it is benchmarked,” said ISFU in an update on the eCommerce strategy.
UNCTAD, an intergovernmental agency of the United Nations dealing with trade, investment and development issues, has supported the Sultanate in the drafting of a National eCommerce Strategy. Key components of eCommerce, such as ICT infrastructure and services, logistics and trade facilitation, legal and regulatory frameworks and awareness-raising were among topics discussed at a series of meetings with stakeholders early last year.
“These sessions resulted in a mission report being drafted by UNCTAD and presented at the end of April 2018. In August a meeting, chaired by the Minister of Transport and Communication, was conducted to finalise and endorse the mission, vision and objectives of the strategy. By the end of 2018, the national eCommerce strategy was completed,” ISFU added.