MUSCAT: The State Council on Tuesday discussed the “Draft law for combatting hidden trade” referred to it by the Council of Ministers, and the report of the Council’s Economic Committee on it, and decided to form a technical drafting committee to include the views of the members on the draft law.
Speaking during the session, Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh al Manthri, State Council Chairman, said that the sitting would discuss the “Draft law for combatting hidden trade” that has been referred by the Council of Ministers and the report of the Economic Committee on it.
Dr Al Manthri said: “His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik delivered a comprehensive historical speech that outlined the parameters of the next stage of the march of the Blessed Renaissance. Following this was another Royal speech, delivered at the Council of Ministers meeting, in which His Majesty stressed the importance of the country’s financial sustainability by ensuring that the financial resources are optimally directed to guarantee debt reduction and increased income’’.
The chairman further said: “His Majesty also called for necessity of structuring and developing the administrative apparatus of the state, updating the system of legislations and laws, mechanisms and programmes of work, upgrading its values and principles, adopting latest methods, simplifying procedures, government performance, integrity and accountability, along with interest in studying mechanisms for developing education and keenness to listen to the youth, seek their needs, interests and aspirations and develop a comprehensive national framework for employment in the public and private sectors, to achieve maximum benefit from national resources using their experiences and competencies and absorb maximum number of young people by enabling them to engage in the job market’’.
The chairman stressed that this national agenda, highlighted in His Majesty’s speech, shows the way for all of us in the various executive, legislative and other institutions of the state to work and proceed accordingly and look at appropriate mechanisms to put them into practice, to build and develop our nation. He also said that His Majesty has stated in his speech on February 23 that it is the public responsibility of everyone to be committed, and no one is exempted from playing their role in each individual’s field, to the best of their ability.
The chairman said that the State Council with all its committees would take this speech as guideline for its work and future activities, and contribute to elevate the Sultanate to the level of His Majesty’s aspirations and the aspirations of his loyal people.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah al Harthy, Head of the Economic Committee of the Council, presented a statement on the draft law on hidden trade, explaining that the preparation of the draft law comes within the framework of implementing the recommendations of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development symposium held in Saih Al Shamikhat in the Wilayat of Bahla in 2013.
He noted that the draft law contains 19 articles divided into three chapters: definitions and general provisions, control and disposal of violations in addition to penalties.
He pointed out that the Economic Committee has prepared a memorandum on the draft law aimed at diagnosing the hidden trade scenario to determine the extent of the need to issue this law in the presence of the laws and procedures referred to and the possibility of activating them.
He pointed out that the Economic Committee concurs with the issuance of the draft law in line with the direction of the government after modifying and adding new inputs to ensure that the application of this law will have a positive impact on the economy.
There is also the need for the project to include a precise definition of the concept of hidden trade and policies to curtail it.
During the extensive discussions, the members expressed their views and observations on various articles highlighting its importance as the first legal framework to address aspects related to combating hidden trade.