Muscat: Reduced government fees for a number of commercial activities will help provide a boost to the Sultanate of Oman’s economy, and encourage more investment in the country, a top Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) official has said.
Fees have been cut for activities such as setting up and renewing company licences; organising tourist camps; and the issuing or renewal of permits for organisations that provide essential services such as air conditioning repair, vehicle maintenance, and sanitation.
Redha bin Juma Al Saleh, the chairman of the Board of Directors of the OCCI, said that these financial measures will help progress towards Vision 2040, which aims to diversify the economy and provide good employment opportunities for people in the country.
Al Saleh’s comments to ONA came after the Ministry of Finance prepared a unified guide for the pricing of government services, under the Royal directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik.
The ministry also clarified that measures would be taken to achieve a comprehensive vision covering the financial, social, and economic impact of government fees on people.
“The reduction of service fees enhances the incentives and facilities provided by the government to the business sector, across 548 services, with reductions ranging from 17 to 96 per cent,” said the OCCI chairman.
“This represents a qualitative leap to stimulate the national economy, and is an important addition to the elements of investment attraction in Oman.
“I call on private sector companies and business owners to take advantage of this incentive,” he added. “I also ask them to take the initiative to contribute to strengthening the national economy by focusing on the promising sectors covered under these initiatives.”
The unified guide covers three government sectors: the first is the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Investment Promotion, the second is the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, and the third affects various municipalities.
In some cases, the fees required have been completely cancelled to benefit those who apply for the corresponding services.
The new fee structure will be implemented from 1 January, 2022. Details of the fees will be made available on the website of the ministry.
The initiative to revise fees was also welcomed by Issam Abousleiman, the World Bank’s country director of the GCC countries, Middle East and North Africa.
“There will be lots of voices pushing back on the reform programme and some even arguing for an abandonment,” he said. “It is precisely in these times that the government should double down on its commitment to reforms and explain clearly to the people the long-term rationale and benefits for these moves. During the pandemic, people in Oman continued to enjoy a high standard of living without being,” he added.
“It would be a mistake to believe that the experience of the pandemic implies that countries must become self-reliant alone. Instead, countries should also work together to strengthen and diversify trade links and invest in the global public good, and institutions.”