New laws to boost foreign investment

MUSCAT: The new laws promulgated by Royal Decrees reflect the government’s intention to enhance the private sector role in the country’s development and generate more job opportunities for the national workforce.
The laws also reflect the Sultanate’s vision for the future and promote competitiveness of the national economy globally and to create an organised and favourable regulatory environment for investments
in all the sectors.
These were some of the observations made on the laws by ministers and other top government officials on Tuesday.
On Monday, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos issued Royal Decrees ratifying new laws on public-private partnership, foreign capital investment, bankruptcy and privatisation and partnership.
Promulgation of the laws stems from the belief the importance of a sound vision with clear features for the challenges of the upcoming stage, said Darwish bin Ismaeel al
Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs.
“Privatisation and partnership is an economic requirement and priority to achieve the future vision of the Omani economy and the advancement of development wheel,” Al Balushi said in a statement
on Tuesday.
The government, he said, since the dawn of the blessed Renaissance, has accorded maximum priority to the private sector.
“Stemming from its belief in the capability of the private sector to effectively contribute in establishing promising projects, as well as managing and operating these projects efficiently and in a high competitive manner,” he said.
The Royal Decree also promulgated establishment of a Public Authority for Privatisation and Partnership.

“Establishing the Authority is a step forward to provide room for the private sector to move market and competition forces, improving operational efficiency, providing funding needs, encouraging foreign investments, attracting technical and administrative expertise and advanced technology”, he added.
Al Balushi said that the essential role of the Authority is getting clear to activate initiatives of privatisation and partnership and reduce burden on the state general budget. The Authority is also a standardised window to accelerate taking decisions in a more effective manner, he added.
In his comments, Dr Ali bin Masood al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council for Planning, said that the new Foreign Capital Investment Law will open new horizons for investment in the Sultanate. The new laws complement the law on partnership between public and private sectors, privatisation law and the system of establishing the Public Authority for Privatisation and Partnership. “This package of laws comes at an important time as they aim to promote joint ventures between the public and private sectors”, he said.
In a statement, the minister said that the Bankruptcy Law will provide exit for companies experiencing difficulties for reasons beyond their control in accordance with specific conditions and controls. He said that it is incumbent on the private sector at the same time to arrange its conditions in accordance with the new legislations on bankruptcy, especially in aspects pertaining to current terms and practices used by finance companies towards facilitation to make the new law more effective.“The laws offer opportunities for innovative financing to alleviate pressure on the state general budget, especially in self-financing projects according to accepted international practices and experiences within a general institutional framework and without the need to deal with each project separately by each government unit,” he said. Dr Al Sunaidy called on the local and foreign investors to take advantage of the improvements introduced by these laws on the investment environment in the Sultanate during this important stage represented in the preparation of the 10th Five-Year Plan.
He hoped that these laws would contribute in raising the Sultanate’s ranking in international Ease of Business indicators while improvements were made as well to the Companies Law earlier this year.
The ministry will organise workshops in the coming months, in cooperation with the Capital Market Authority , Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and other relevant authorities, to explain the various articles in the laws concerning investment and bankruptcy and ways to maximise interest.
Yahya bin Saeed al Jabri, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa), said that the new laws will attract more investments. “The laws would contribute directly to the development of the laws for investment, improve the ease of doing of business in the Sultanate and attract more foreign investments.”The Ithraa chairman added that these laws would enhance the competitiveness of the Sultanate as these legislations are among the most important investment incentives in support of sustainable economic development.
He affirmed Ithraa’s constant efforts to highlight and promote for the economic advantages of the Sultanate represented in its initiatives and plans. He also thanked the Council of Oman, including the State Council and Majlis Ash’shura for their positive contribution while presenting these laws before the two councils by the government.