Implementation of Foreign Capital Investment Law in the Sultanate to begin from January

MUSCAT, AUGUST 17 – The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is supporting endeavours to enhance Oman’s investment appeal, according to Mohammed bin Rashid al Badi, Acting Director of the Legal Department at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
He said the Ministry is working to implement the provisions of Foreign Capital Investment Law issued recently via Royal Decree 50/2019. The law will come into force six after its publication in the official gazette, effective from January 2020.
“Till the implementation of the new Foreign Capital Investment Law, the law which is already in force will continue to regulate the foreign capital investment. The new Foreign Capital Investment Law would be for all non-Omanis who want to establish a project which is economically feasible for the Sultanate and for the purpose they are using their own capital and assets,” Al Badi said.
“As is well-known, investment laws play an important role in attracting foreign investments and the flow of capital to establish companies covering giant economic projects needed by the Sultanate. (Foreign investments) increase the level of efficiency of operating companies and transfer of economic expertise and modern technologies. This results in diversification of the economic base and has positive impact on it.”
To improve the investment environment in the Sultanate, an Investment Services Centre has been established within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for registration of foreign investors and to simplify procedures for obtaining the required approvals and licences. It is mandatory for the Investment Services Centre and other relevant organisations to abide by the procedures and deadlines for issuing approvals, permits and licenses sought by a foreign investor. If the applicant does not get any reply within the stipulated time, it would mean that his or her application has not accepted, he said.
Al Badi also said that the Foreign Capital Investment Law has several incentives and advantages for foreign investors. The new Law allows 100 per cent ownership in permitted activities. The law does not stipulate a minimum limit for a foreign capital investment in a project, provided the investor abides by the timetable agreed for its implementation, in accordance with the economic feasibility study. It also does not allow making any substantial amendments in it without the ministry’s approval.
Article 18 of the law gives the investor the right to avail all the advantages, incentives and guarantees enjoyed by national projects in accordance with the laws already practiced in the Sultanate. Additional benefits may also be given to foreign investment projects established in the less developed regions of the Sultanate.
Article 19 of the law permits the allocation of land and real estate for the investment project under a long-term lease. It also grants the right of usufruct without abiding by the provisions of the Royal Decree regulating the use of the Sultanate’s lands and the Land Law.
This is in accordance with the rules and provisions decided by the regulations in coordination with the concerned authorities.
The concerned authorities will specify and allocate sites in each governorate for the establishment of investment projects with the right of usufruct. They will also provide general services such as water, electricity, gas, sewage, roads, communications and other such facilities to the project area.
Article 21 of the law allows that the investment project, itself or thought third party, can import whatever it requires for its establishment, expansion and operationalization. This can be either production requirements, materials, or machinery, spare parts and means of transport suitable for the nature of its activity without registering itself as importer, said Al Badi.
“To ensure stable conditions for foreign investments in the Sultanate, the Foreign Capital Investment Law guarantees the rights of investors, he said.
Article 23 stipulates that projects cannot be seized or the investment frozen or seized, except by a court ruling.
The project cannot be expropriated except in accordance with the provisions of the expropriation law in the public interest, and in that case, fair compensation has to be given without any delay, as stipulated in Article 24. Similarly, the right of usufruct or lease cannot be seized in case of privatisation of the lands or real estate, except in cases prescribed by law or a court ruling.