The MSM30 Index ended the week down by 0.08 per cent and it main sub-indices have posted mixed performance. The Industrial index was the only gainer up by 0.47 per cent while both the Financial Index and the Service Index closed down by 0.31 per cent and 0.06 per cent respectively.
A project for implementing the XBRL disclosure platform for the reporting of financial and non-financial information by all issuers listed on the Muscat Security Market (MSM) and other companies operating under any license from the Capital Market Authority (CMA) has been commissioned. XBRL, or extensible Business Reporting Language, is an XML standard for tagging business and financial reports to increase the transparency and accessibility of business information by using a uniform format. The project has been commissioned by CMA in cooperation with the Muscat Security.
With the third telecom operator expected to enter the Oman market in the coming period, the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) has issued a decision that will help regulate anti-competitive behavior in the sector. TRA issued decision 59/2020 amending some provisions of the earlier decision 70/2013, regarding the rules for post-market regulation (anti-competitive behavior).
National Life & General Insurance (NLGIC) announced that the board approved to apply for a branch license for life and general insurance business in Qatar. NLGIC is the biggest insurance company in Oman and has also operations in Kuwait.
Gulf Invest Services Holding board resolved to implement the following restructuring programme: To reduce the capital from RO 15.0mn to RO 5.0mn by writing off RO 6.58mn worth of accumulated losses and repayment of RO 5.95mn to shareholders; Statutory reserves will be reduced from RO 4.18mn to RO 1.66mn and the surplus of RO 2.51mn will be utilized partly towards the aforesaid payback to shareholders.
Malt drinks, non-alcoholic beers, ready-to-drink coffees and teas, and beverages containing artificial sweeteners are among a wide array of products that are liable to 50 per cent Excise Tax when the new levy comes into force in the Sultanate on October 1, 2020. Barring a few exceptions, potentially hundreds of different types of sweetened beverages and their variants will be brought under the purview of the new levy – part of an effort by member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) including Oman to disincentivize excessive consumption of products deemed potentially harmful to health.
Ownership of several and real estate properties owned by foreigners was transferred to citizens as per the government decision. “The ownership of land and real estate was transferred to Omani citizens from November 2018 until the end of June 2020, in various governorates of the Sultanate in line with the provisions of Royal Decree No 29/2018 on the prohibition of non-Omani ownership in certain areas.”
In June, the Ministry of Housing has urged expatriate landowners and real estate owners to complete the process of transfer of their properties in areas where ownerships were banned under the Royal Decree 29/2018. The royal decree 29/2018 issued recently was on the promulgation of the law on prohibition of non-Omani ownership of lands and real estate in some places. Accordingly, Article 1 bans the ownership of real estate and land for non-Omanis in Musandam, Buraimi, Dhahirah, Al Wusta, Dhofar (except Salalah), Liwa, Shinas, Masirah, Jabal Akhdar and Jebel Shams, any mountains and islands of strategic importance that are situated near palaces, security and military apparatus and ancient archaeological lanes determined by the competent authorities.
CMA Oman recently issued a detailed report for the insurance sector of Oman. As per the report, overall premiums of the sector rose by 5 per cent to RO 486mn in 2019 compared to RO 463mn in 2018. Premiums of the health sector rose by 11.7 per cent to RO 170mn in 2019 compared to RO 152mn in 2018. While premiums of the motor segment dropped by 10.5 per cent to RO 130mn compared to RO 145mn in 2018. The following pie chart details the market share of the insurance companies as per premiums as of 2019.
The total number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the end of June 2020 was 44,448, which is an increase by 11.7 per cent compared to the same period of 2019. Among the governorates, Muscat topped the list with 34 per cent SMEs registered till April 2020, followed by North Al Batinah with 16 per cent, A’Dakhiliyah with 13 per cent, Dhofar with 8 per cent, and the rest of governorates with 29 per cent. The Governorate of Muscat had 14,983 SMEs registered at the end of June 2020, followed by North Al Batinah with 7,027, A’Dakhiliyah with 5,622, Dhofar with 3,729, South Al Batinah with 3,298, and North A’Sharqiah with 3,015 SMEs registered. This was followed by A’Dhahirah with 2,637 SMEs, South A’Sharqiah with 2,533 SMEs, and Al Buraimi with 934 SMEs registered.