Some may have concerns about the foreign capital investment law issued earlier this month, as part of a package of laws to stimulate the economy and boost diversification of sources of income. The law also made sure that 100 per cent foreign investment will not bypass the rules and regulations which are made to protect certain economic activities and small and medium enterprises of the Sultanate.
While bringing any changes in the structure of the economic activities, this aspect has never been overlooked here. The priorities of the country have always been on top while making any laws, rules and regulations.
Foreign investments will be in value added activities and would never become a burden for the country and its people. Foreign investment would never mean opening of its flood gate and anybody can come and enter anywhere as its citizens are top priority in planning policies.
Among the terms and conditions for any foreign investment is that the project should have economic feasibility. There are many obligations on the investors as defined by the law. Also when making any investment, the investor would have to take care of our own economic condition. All these safeguards are there in the law. Therefore, there is very little scope of concern at all. There are many safeguards present in the law, which has protected the interests of citizens of the country as entrepreneurs.
The foreign investment would allow the investor to own 100 per cent of the project. But there are certain terms and conditions which decide the activities allowed for this type of investment. There is also a negative list where foreign investment is not allowed. It is satisfying that while making the law it was ensured that project known as Oman is the focus of any such planning. Anything would not be allowed to affect Oman’s business and trade.
The foreign investment and its 100 per cent ownership issue is very clear in the law. It is allowed in certain permitted activities.
The article 6 of the foreign capital law clearly says that the foreign investment would be made only through an institution or company in one of the permitted activities. For this, licence or permit would be issued by the investment services office which was set up in 2017.
It means that any foreign investment even in the permitted activities would require approval of the concerned government agencies and private sector represented by the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. There would be certain activities in which foreign investment and ownership would be allowed under certain conditions. But there are many activities reserved only for Omanis. We are confident that no loop holes would be left while implementing these laws and their interpretations.
The article 12 of the law allows the authorities to inspect any institutions to ascertain if they comply with the law. It also makes it mandatory for the investors and owners to provide them full support for inspection. There are certain guarantees in the new law to ensure that they are not misused.
For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in July allowed 100 per cent ownership of foreigners in 122 activities. It means that all countries make laws for foreign investments keeping in view their own interests. The same case is with us. The only thing we need to do is that we should keep our eyes open so that these laws are never misused.
We are confident that these efforts would bring positive results as the intention is pure and honest. The public interest is the main objective of this law which we expect to be achieved without any difficultly.