Shura going from strength to strength

Muscat: Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal al Busaidy, Minister of Interior, said that during the reign of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, the Shura has witnessed gradual development in line with the requirements of each stage of development. In an interview to Shurufat Al Majlis magazine published by the State Council, Sayyid Hamoud said, “There is no doubt that this gradual development has contributed greatly to reaching this advanced stage. It has also contributed to raising the citizens’ awareness about the participation in decision-making process and its importance in the process of construction and development.”
HM’s Royal Tours
The Minister of Interior added that the Sultanate of Oman has its own heritage in good governance based on the Sharia principles and Omani values and customs. The Royal Tours by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos are one of the most important and outstanding Omani practices where His Majesty meets citizens in wilayats which reflects the interaction between the leadership and the people. In such meetings, specific topics may be discussed, and development plans and projects may be announced; all of which are in the interest of the citizens who find it a chance to express their views on topics that are raised during the Royal Tours. His Majesty the Sultan, in turn, responds to their views and directs the government to do the needful accordingly.
Sayyid Hamoud further said that there is no doubt that the Royal Tours have contributed to prioritising, directing and speeding up development efforts in all governorates and wilayats of the Sultanate. A number of development and service projects were launched during the course of these Royal Tours. The concerned government bodies, consequently, would develop the appropriate programmes and mechanisms to implement them. These tours have also contributed to the raise of the people’s awareness about the public affairs, which have paved the way for building a strong partnership between the government and citizens represented in the Council of Oman and Municipal Councils.
The Minister of Interior said, “It is well known that the plans and future development programmes, including the five-year plans, are based on in-depth data, estimates and studies. The projects that His Majesty the Sultan ordered are in line with these plans and programmes. The directives of His Majesty aimed at strengthening and accelerating these programmes to achieve the community’s priorities. As for the new development programmes and services, there is a separate budget allocated for them.”
National symposia
Sayyid Hamoud pointed out that the national symposia held on the sidelines of the Royal Camps have their own importance and themes. They focus on specific topics with a strategic dimension of development at the national level. The competent authorities, therefore, have established the foundations and mechanisms for the implementation of the adopted recommendations and outcomes of these symposia.
These symposia have been able to overcome the difficulties and facilitate the procedures of implementing such programmes in line with the directions of each one of them; all of which have had positive results on the development process.
Role of Governor
The Minister of Interior further said that the governor represents the executive branch of government in the governorate. There is a good and effective cooperation and coordination between the governor’s office and the concerned authorities, which is necessary to ensure the implementation of the development programmes and the proper functioning of each governorate.
The governor is a partner in the preparation of development plans in his governorate. He follows up the implementation of these plans in coordination with the concerned authorities, in addition to presiding over the Municipal Council. All of these factors contribute to realising the development projects allocated to each governorate.
Sayyid Hamoud further said, “There is no doubt that the governors’ offices play a pivotal role in the development process, supported by the walis’ offices. These offices have developed in many aspects and have adopted a kind of decentralised management. The ministry is keen to support them in coordination with the governors, walis and the competent authorities in order to improve the level of work in the different services and development facilities in the governorates.”
9th shura polls
Sayyid Hamoud said, “Earlier this year, the ministry started its preparations for organising the Ninth Shura Elections in coordination with the concerned authorities through the formation of the committees, foremost of them is the Supreme Committee and the Main Committee.”
He pointed out that statistics indicate that there is a steady increase in the number of citizens who register in the electoral register. This is a good indicator that reflects the growing awareness among Omani citizens and their desire to exercise their electoral rights and assume their national responsibility in the development process.
The Minister of Interior further said, “I think that women can compete to get more seats in Majlis Ash’shura through exerting more efforts and gaining the confidence of the voters. Women realise that their participation is important because they represent half of the society. They have the same duties of men towards their country and society. Therefore, we urge women to participate in the forthcoming elections and exercise their right to run for the elections and elect their representatives.”
Sayyid Hamoud added that in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Statute of the State, Omani women shall be treated on an equal footing with men with regard to the opportunities and public rights and duties. In accordance with Article 58 of this Statute and the provisions of the Elections Law of Majlis Ash’shura members, the right of running for elections is granted to men and women equally as per the set conditions.
Municipal Councils
He said, “Women are exerting more efforts to prove their presence in Majlis Ash’shura through the ballot boxes. Women and the community as a whole need more awareness to encourage women to take the initiative to run for the elections and win the confidence of voters. As for the allocation of seats to women in each governorate (quota system), this idea is not consistent with the equality and fair opportunities between citizens as provided by the Basic Statute of the State. Women have the full right to run for elections and vote as men; there are no restrictions on their exercise of this right.”
The minister said that the Municipal Councils have already achieved many gains in terms of municipal services and projects.
This is what has been seen by the citizens in the different governorates as they are the direct partners with these councils. The government monitors and supports these councils in light of the periodic reports submitted to the government. — ONA