Muscat: Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) will get its first expatriate member on its board when the results of the elections on November 22, 2022 will be announced.
For the first time in OCCI’s history, nine expatriates have filed their nominations for the sole expatriate seat in the 21-member board at the forthcoming OCCI elections.
Among the prominent candidates who have filed nominations are Eng Redha bin Juma al Saleh, the current OCCI chairman and present heads of Dhofar, Al Dhahirah, Musandam, Al Wusta, North Al Sharqiyah, Al Buraimi, South Al Batinah and South Al Sharqiyah governorates.
The nine expatriates who are in the running for the sole seat are: Ahmed Ibrahim Khalousi, Ahmed Subhani, Amir Tawqir Mudh’har, Ahmed Mohammed Ridha Mohammed Ali, Raju Thanangadan, Abdul Latif Mohidin, Falanthara Mohammed Abdulhakim, Mohammed Ahmed Al Sharqawi and Yogendra Singh Katiyar.
Ahmed Al Hooti, OCCI’s chief of Economy Committee and Research, welcomed the new law of having an expatriate investor on the OCCI board.
“It is very important to have an expatriate investor on the OCCI board. It sends a strong message to the expatriate investors in the country that they are part of the business community of Oman. We would like to work together with the expatriate business community. We will walk hand in hand. With an expatriate board member at the OCCI, he would understand the need and requirements of the expat business community and communicate with them. The flow of ideas and their needs could be better conveyed to make things better for the economy,” he said.
As an expert, Hooti said: “This is a new era and with new participants and new members. We could focus on the challenges and problems and resolve them. I am all for having expatriate investor on the board of not just OCCI but also in all business organisations to help the country’s economy prosper.”
Among the nine expatriates who are in the running for the sole seat is Ahmed Subhani, an investor from Pakistan.
Speaking to Times Oman, Subhani said: “After hearing that expatriate investors can contest the OCCI elections, which is a welcome move by the government, I thought this was a good opportunity for me to help the business community and Oman economy by bolstering global trade and attracting foreign investments.”
Subhani is the owner of Falcon Eye, one of the leading service provider groups committed to empowering the business community by providing unbeatable “people solutions” across the GCC.
If elected, Subhani said his foremost task will be to attract foreign direct investments and be the voice of the expatriate community at the OCCI. He said: “I would strive to ensure prosperity by ensuring a pro-business climate and act as a bridge between investors and government officials.”
The elections have found an encouraging response with a total of 125 candidates in the fray for seats from across the 11 governorates.
A total of 27 candidates are in fray for the five seats in Muscat governorate. The remaining 10 governorates will send a board member each with 11 candidates in contention in Dhofar followed by 10 each from South Al Sharqiyah and North Al Batinah governorates.
There are nine candidates from South Al Batinah, eight candidates each from North Al Sharqiyah, Al Buraimi and Al Dhahirah, seven candidates from Musandam and six each from Al Dhakhiliyah and Al Wusta.
Under the new bylaws of the OCCI, the coming board elections for 2022-2026 will not only have one expatriate investor on board but also have representatives of public share holding companies that have expatriate chief executives.
Six candidates have filed their nominations for the five seats for public share holding companies.
Earlier last month, His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik had issued a Royal Decree (56/2022) that promulgated the bylaw of the OCCI.
Under the new bylaw, OCCI’s Board of Directors will consist of five members from Muscat governorate, heads from the remaining ten governorates, five representatives of public share holding companies listed on Muscat Stock Exchange or their chief executives, and one expat investor benefiting from the Investors Residency Programme.
The OCCI announced the list of preliminary candidates last week and has allowed appeals to be heard against any candidate from November 6 to 8. The Appeals Committee will look into the appeals, if any, within three working days and reach a decision.
The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry election committee had previously announced the preliminary lists of private sector companies and institutions registered in the electoral register for the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry elections for the period (2022-2026), numbering over 730,000 companies.
The elections will be held under the supervision of the election committee of OCCI and the committees of the branches of OCCI in the governorates.