Shura council refers hidden trade bill to State Council

Muscat: The Majlish Ash’shura on Tuesday referred the draft law on combatting hidden trade to the State Council. The draft law was previously referred to the Majlis Ash’shura by the State Council in accordance with Article (58) bis (37) of the Basic Statute of the State which stipulates that the bills should be referred by the State Council to the Majlis Ash’shura which is mandated to approve, reject or amend the bill in question within a period of three months form the date of submission before referring it to the State Council.

The Majlis Ash’shura held elaborative discussion on the articles of the draft hidden trade law and the amendments suggested by the Economic and Financial Committee of Majlis Ash’shura supported by opinions presented by the Legislative and Legal Committee.

The bill was read out before the council by Saleem bin Ali al Hakmani, Head of the Economic and Financial Committee. He stated that the draft law falls in three chapters comprising 19 articles.

The draft law on combating hidden trade law draws its importance from the growing negative impact of hidden trade activities on the performance of small and medium enterprises with an increasing number of violating expat workers who resort to hidden trade.

The council members elaborately discussed the articles of the said bill particularly those points relating to the concept of the hidden trade and the parties involved in this illicit activity.

As part of its study, the Economic and Financial Committee formed a working team which studied the compatibility of the draft law with the current economic condition as well as the economic and commercial laws implemented in the Sultanate.

It is worth noting that the draft law on combating hidden trade is considered the first law that encompasses all the aspects pertaining to the issue of hidden trade specially those aspects concerning violations.

During the session the council approved the vision stated by the Social and Economic Committee regarding a number of conventions such as the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road 1956 and other international agreements.

The council members were briefed on the Agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of tax evasion signed between the Sultanate and Ireland.

Besides, the council members listened to ministerial replies with regard to several questions raised by the members. These included a reply from the minister of manpower regarding a parliamentary question about on-the-job-training contracts. In his reply, the minister explained that the on-the-job-training falls under the mandate of the National Training Fund. Regarding the registration of national manpower, the minister clarified that the citizens are registered with the Public Authority for Social Insurance, however the ministry of manpower receives and discusses the workers’ complaints and attempts to settle them amicably or refer them to relevant court.

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