20 years of Oman's State Council: A vital link between past and present
November 19, 2017 | 9:21 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan, [email protected]
State Council – or Majlis A’Dawla – which this month marks 20 years since it was first formed as a guiding hand to steer the Sultanate’s future policies. -File photo used for illustrative purposes only

Muscat: Oman’s State Council will always maintain the best interests of the Sultanate, to ensure the country walks a strong and stable path, leading to a prosperous and sustainable future for its people.

That’s according to the members of the State Council – or Majlis A’Dawla – which this month marks 20 years since it was first formed as a guiding hand to steer the Sultanate’s future policies.

“This body connects our past with our present and tries to link this to the future,” said Dr Said bin Sultan Hamood Al Busaidi, member of the State Council. “This is a part of any of Oman’s policies, whether it is an agreement with the other GCC nations or any other country.

The State Council is a continuation of Oman’s cultures and traditions, and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said first created a consultative council, and after that experience, Majlis Al Shura, made up of elected members, came about.”

Both councils have a maximum of 85 members each, and jointly make up the Council of Oman. “Any legislation in the country must come through the Council of Oman,” said Al Busaidi. “The Council of Ministers sends the drafts of new legislations to the Shura council, and they have 45 days to study and comment on this. From them, it is sent to the State Council. We have two weeks to study this, as well as the original draft.

“If both chambers agree, that is sent directly to His Majesty, but if there is some disagreement, then we have to have a joint meeting, presided by the Chairman of the State Council,” he added. “We debate and we vote on these things, and the final vote and initial outcomes of our meetings are sent to His Majesty.” The State Council also suggests amendments to current laws, in addition to supervising three key functions. “The five-year plan is sent to us so we can provide our input and suggestions on this, the annual budget is also sent to us for our comments, and every year, a review of last-year’s budget is done, with regards to how it was spent, and we sent our views to the Council of Ministers,” revealed Al Busaidi

“The Majlis Al Shura, is made of elected members who represent the area they’ve been elected from, but the Majlis A’Dawla is more a body of wise people who balance between the electoral body and the interests of the country,” added Naashiah Saud Al Kharusi, another State Council member.

“The State Council consists of experts who are well experienced and speicalised in different fields,” she revealed. “The Majlis Al Shura looks after the interests of the people, but they may not necessarily be experts. This balance is very important, because we provide legislative and political balance in the areas of services such as education, culture, health, or other services that are provided to the public”

State Council members are normally above the age of 40, and directly elected by His Majesty, having made significant service in either the public or private sectors.About six new laws were drafted in the current session of the State Council, in addition to studies on the role of women’s associations, the challenges of private sector and labour market policies, tourism readiness, health promotion policies, the societal role of libraries, as well as studies on the links between academic and research institutions and the role they can play across industrial and commercial organisations.

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