HM Royal directives to ease financial burden on people hailed

Oman Wednesday 01/June/2022 22:30 PM
By: Times News Service
HM Royal directives to ease financial burden on people hailed
HM announced OMR130mn package to assist ordinary citizens and small businesses

Muscat: Omanis welcomed the Royal orders of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to waive a number of financial burdens on citizens.

His Majesty ordered a package of OMR130 million to assist ordinary citizens and small business people to better manage their finances. Low income Omanis with salaries of OMR450 a month or less will get housing loan repayments written off. Statistics show that nearly 12,000 such citizens will avail of this generous offer.

“The package of facilities and exemption of some housing loans is something that Omanis have been waiting for a while,” said Awadh bin Abdullah Al Mandhari, the Wali of Saham. “Omanis have been eagerly waiting for these measures for a while. His Majesty is a wise man, and he is fully aware of the aspirations of people. Our thanks for the attention, help, and kindness shown by him.”

Sultan Al Hosni, Shura Council member for Khabourah, and the Vice Chairman of the Youth and Human Resources Committee at the Majlis Al Shura, added: “This shows the utmost care of His Majesty towards the nation, creating assistance for people across different categories. These measures show that he is taking care of all of the challenges facing our country during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the issues affecting many people and institutions. The directives issued by His Majesty are like those given from a father to his son.”

“I cried when I heard the news. I did not think it was true until I called someone from the housing bank and confirmed it. It is a godsend and I can only say thank you very much to His Majesty for thinking about us,” Abdularaheem Al Balushi, a resident of Musannah, told Times of Oman.

Another citizen said he was paying nearly half of his salary towards loan repayment and very little was left for food and bills.

“Now, I don’t have to worry about food or paying my bills because I do not have a loan any longer. It is like a heavy burden lifted from my shoulders,” Abdullah Al Rahma, a resident from Maabela, said.  

His Majesty also ordered a cut on electricity bills during the four summer months from May to August by 15 per cent. “It is a huge help because we consume a lot of electricity for air conditioning during the summer months. Now, we will have more money to pay for other household expenses,” Ali Al Rahbi, a civil servant, told Times of Oman.

His Majesty ordered subsidies for SMEs as well and increased packages for struggling companies under this category as well as the Riyada beneficiaries, including fines and licencing fee waivers. “It is tough running an SME trade with not enough money to finance it. I am relieved that there is this new waiver and also an additional fund to keep small business people like us surviving,” Saif Al Hakmani, a businessman in Bar Al Hakman in the Wusta Region, said.

The Royal order also pardoned late vehicle registrations for the year 2020 and 2021, both private and business. Bad cheques that rebound see their issuers face jail terms, but His Majesty has pardoned those who do not have sufficient funds to meet their payments. Financial experts also  hailed the royal gesture and said it was timely.

“The Royal gestures easing the financial burdens on both private citizens and business people are commendable and came at the right time. It will help a lot of people who are facing problems,” Salim Al Saadi, an independent financial analyst, told Times of Oman.

Dr Ahmed Al Hooti, head of economic research and a board member of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, added: “We would like to first thank His Majesty and the government for making these initiatives possible. We previously sat down with the government and talked about the current situation, and whether there was some sort of help that could be given. “What I would say now is thank you to His Majesty and the government, but we are still looking for more packages to enable us to survive during this current period,” he added.