Govt announces steps to protect small Omani businesses

Muscat: As part of the efforts to protect the small Omani businesses and also traditional products related to national identity, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MOCIIP) has issued a decision 209/2020, which specifies the list of activities in which foreign investment is prohibited.

As per the decision based on the Foreign Capital Investment Law issued under Royal Decree 50/2019, the business will be limited to Omani investors. Some of the activities operating within the tourism sector have been exempted from the prohibition.

It may be noted that to provide an attractive investment environment for investors, the Gulf investor will be treated as an Omani investor in practicing economic activities in the Sultanate, taking into account the economic agreement in force between GCC countries.

“In line with the priority given by the government to empower small and medium enterprises, the Omani investor can invest in all activities in which foreign investment is prohibited, and this list will also be updated according to the circumstances of each stage to keep pace with economic developments,” the decision said.

The Foreign Capital Investment Law has granted a number of incentives, privileges, and guarantees to non-Omani investors.
Article (14) of the Foreign Capital Investment Law promulgated under Royal Decree 50/2019 states that a list of activities in which foreign investment is prohibited to be issued by a decision from the minister.

Article 1 of the same decision also specified the activities in which foreign investment is prohibited, except for what is established in tourist establishments, such as washing all kinds of textiles, washing and ironing clothes with steam (dry washing), cutting and styling hair for men and children, and types of cosmetics for women.

Article 2 stipulates that investment projects existing at the time of its implementation shall be excluded from the application of its provisions, and it is prohibited to assign them to third parties without the written consent of the minister or his authorized representative.
Article 3 also stipulates that everything that contradicts this decision or contradicts its provisions shall be canceled, and the fourth article of the decision stipulates that it shall be enforced on the day following the date of its publication.

The provisions of the Foreign Capital Investment Law apply to every non-Omani natural or legal person who establishes an investment project in the Sultanate, by enabling his capital and assets to establish economically viable investment projects for the Sultanate.
The  list of activities prohibited for foreign investors:

Production of Omani sweets,
Production of Omani daggers,
Specialized stores for sale Omani daggers,
Specialized stores for the sale of traditional weapons
Specialized stores for craft products
Sewing and knitting Arab and non-Arab men’s and women’s clothes
Tailoring and sewing sports and military clothes
Transporting and selling drinking water
Repairing electrical parts in vehicles, charging batteries
Detailing Omani cuffs
Tailoring and sewing women gowns,
Repairing and cleaning vehicles’ radiators
Repairing tires and wheel caps,
repairing vehicle scales,
Vehicle washing and lubricating stations,
Vehicle oil change,
Auto air conditioner repair,
Auto and vehicle sound exhaust repair,
Car and vehicle cleaning and polishing,
Fruit and vegetable wholesaling,
Wholesale of cooking gas and LPG filling stations,
Retailing in specialty stores for honey,
Vehicle fuel stations,
Diesel fuel stations,
In-store retail of phones and their accessories,
Retail sale in specialized stores for souvenirs, antiques, and paintings,
Retail sale in specialized stores of natural flowers and plants,
Retail sale in specialized stores of pottery and handicrafts,
Retail sale in specialized stores selling cooking gas,
Retail sale in specialized stores of silverware and gifts,
Retail sale in specialized stores for licensed phone cards in the Sultanate,
Retail sale in specialized stores for animal feed,
Retail sale in specialized stores for bags, retail sale in specialized stores for wedding supplies,
Retail sale in specialized stores for fireworks,
Retail sale in specialized stores of empty gas cylinders,
Retail sale in specialized stores for wedding cards,
Transportation of pilgrims and Umrah performers,
Transporting cooking gas cylinders in trucks,
Shipping and unloading of goods and customs clearance offices,
Valuation of canceled vehicles, Commission and real estate brokerage insurance agent, and labor offices (recruitment),
Employment offices, and regulation in public buildings,
Photocopying and document printing services,
Transaction tracking offices,
Installation and assembly of neon panels,
Management and operation of fuel filling stations,
Driving schools,
Specialized rehabilitation centers,
Old people’s homes, orphanages,
Rehabilitation homes,
Activities that are related to libraries and archives.