State council a springboard for national progress

Muscat, July 23 – Since the initiation of the Blessed Renaissance 49 years ago, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has enabled the strengthening of the pillars of national unity to make it the mainstay of the development and the springboard for national progress. His Majesty the Sultan has worked arduously to establish the pillars of the state institutions and law, to uphold its spirit, consolidate the values of justice, equality, security and create an atmosphere of peace and tolerance in the nation, said Dr Khalid bin Salim al Saidi, Secretary-General of the State Council in a statement.
Shura, comprising State Council and Majlis Ash’shura under the Council of Oman, is one of the pillars of the state institutions from the outset of renaissance and it has evolved confidently, achieving noble goals guided by His Majesty’s wise vision. Dr Khalid said the initiative to involve citizens in decision-making has led to the significant development of Shura, strengthened institutional practice, integrated them in the process of achieving development goals and national progress.
As the seventh-term approaches, the Council looks forward with immense aspirations to augment its contribution to national work within the framework of state institutions and law and in the context of integration with other state entities.
Noteworthy legislative work, proposals and studies discussed and approved by the Council during the fourth annual session and referred to it by the Council of Ministers include regulation of medical profession and allied medical professions; statistics and information draft law; unified draft law regulating private mail and parcel companies in GCC states; draft laws on bankruptcy, foreign capital investment, privatisation and public and private sectors partnership.
Dr Khalid said the State Council approved 12 proposals and studies submitted by the Council committees and referred it to the Council of Ministers namely: protection of children from accidents, promotion of mineral wealth, the role of Omani drama in society, draft provisions on draft laws submitted by the Council of Oman, language policies of the Sultanate, its realities, challenges and mechanisms for development, review of land laws of Oman, integration of the standard of living and productivity, advertising, development of the training system aligned with education, sports clubs and community, regulation of biotechnology and its products, protection of genetic data in Oman and public debt law.
The Secretary-General stated that the Sixth-term (2015-2019) of the Council was intensively active and the discussions focused on more than twenty new or amended draft laws referred by the Council of Ministers, and seven proposed projects from the Council of Oman, twenty-three proposals and studies performed by committees, in addition to four State Budgets and the ninth five-year development plan. State Council and Majlis Ash’shura were involved in several coordination meetings of committees to discuss topics of both councils.

DEVELOPING COOPERATION
The Secretary-General highlighted the council’s keenness to activate strong relations and cooperation with parliaments of other countries. During the fourth session, the Council received delegations led Dr Muhammad Hidayat Nour Wahid, Vice Chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly of Indonesia; Jaroslav Kubera, Czech Senate President; Lord Geoffrey James Dear, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords and Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman of the Pakistan Senate; the Atlantic Council delegation headed by Stephen John Hadley, former US National Security Adviser and executive vice President of the Atlantic Council; David McAllister, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament; Gabriela Cuevas Barron, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU), Youn Seung Hyun, chairman of Korean-Omani Parliamentary Friendship Group; Ahn Gyu-Back, Chairman of the National Defence Committee from the Democratic Party of Korea in the Korean National Assembly; Dr Mishaal bin Fahm al Salami, Speaker of the Arab Parliament and Michal Sewerynskim, Senator from Poland.
The State Council Chairman, Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh al Mantheri visited Sudan, Russia and United Kingdom to further strengthen relations. Dr Khalid confirmed that the Council has participated actively in various regional and international parliamentary forums, including meetings of the Arab Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. He stated that State Council’s five Friendship committees advance cooperation with their counterparts to promote ongoing dialogue and enhance parliamentary diplomacy at a global and bilateral level. Dr Khalid added that the Council, in line with its support to joint Arab action, hosted the ceremony to announce the publication of the Arab document for the protection and development of the Arab environment prepared by the Arab Parliament.

A PARADIGM SHIFT
Dr Khalid said the Council had conducted several training programmes for its employees to promote skill development, in addition to granting scholarships to employees to complete their university and higher studies He pointed out that many research reports were documented, which the council’s members use as reference in the study of draft laws and topics. Dr Khalid stated that the Council intensified its media coverage through the publication of its magazines Shurufat and Comprehensive Report.
The Council’s social media platforms also heightened its interactive sharing of information relating to its activities regionally and globally. He added that the Council recently launched its new brand identity, to accentuate its commitment to implementing constant development of its facilities. It would lead to building of community and institutional partnership, enhance identity and values and facilitate the Council’s contribution during the next phase, consolidate its positive image through the digital medium, and enhance its visibility.
The council’s new portal with its advanced features will enable digital parliamentary interactions and is a distinctive interface and an integrated and pioneering electronic platform at the local and regional level that facilitates global cohesiveness. It also facilitates continual improvement in the services provided to the honourable members, the Council and visitors to the portal from varied segments of society regionally and globally. The new brand identity and website reflects the Council’s noble goals and objectives, vested in it to promote its mission, highlight its work and activities, and contributes to the consolidation of the Shura culture in our community.

CONNECT and SHARE
The Secretary-General said that the Council has validated its keenness to connect with the community by organising seminars that address community issues, participated in national events and exhibitions held in various provinces of Oman.
In this context, the Council organised an open day for the Omani media and a meeting of editors of local newspapers and electronic news sites with the aim of strengthening cooperation, as the Council places high importance on dissemination of authentic and appropriate information about its activities. The Council received delegations from more than forty schools, colleges and institutions during its fourth annual session of the sixth period.