Calls for national foreign investment plan in Oman's 2020 budget
December 4, 2019 | 11:03 PM
by Times News Service
The discussion took place in the presence of the Minister for Financial Affairs, Darwish bin Ismail Al Balushi. Photo: ONA

Muscat: Oman’s Majlis Al Shura has called for a national plan to increase foreign investment, as part of its discussions over key areas of the state budget for next year.

The Shura Council, which discussed the budget for the 2020 during its first annual session of the new term, called for sustainable methods to help the state improve its finances in the long-term.

In addition to prioritising these plans over short-term fixes, the Shura Council also stressed the need for the budget to address how it was going to tackle the twin issues of job seekers who were looking for employment in the country, as well as delayed promotions for those who were already employed.

The discussion took place in the presence of the Minister for Financial Affairs, Darwish bin Ismail Al Balushi, in whose presence the Shura Council called for the implementation of this national plan to increase foreign investments, as well as raising the Omanisation rates in the tourism and private sectors. In this context, the minister said, “the state budget for the fiscal year 2020 focuses on reducing the fiscal deficit and reducing spending.”

There were four main areas that the Shura Council highlighted during the discussion of the budget.

A statement from the Majlis Al Shura said, “The 2020 budget focused on fiscal sustainability, which was a top priority for the session, in addition to the reduction of fiscal deficits, reduced spending, enabling the private sector to continue to achieve its targeted growth, job creation, and attention to social sectors such as health, housing and education.”

“His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad Al Nadabi read the request of the Council of Ministers to discuss the general budget of the state for the fiscal year 2020, in a private session, for a vote by the members of the Council, according to Article 58 of the Basic Law of the State, and Article 90 of the Bylaws of the Shura Council,” added the statement.

Once the request to discuss the budget had been agreed upon, the Shura members who had arrived for the session were asked to vote on whether the session needed to be made private, or whether a public discussion was preferred. 71 per cent of the council members voted in favour of keeping the discussion a private one.

The two sessions on Wednesday discussed the report of the Economic and Financial Committee on the draft state budget for fiscal year 2020, in addition to discussing the statement of the Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs on the draft state budget for the fiscal year 2020.

Another meeting at the Shura Council over the delay of payments in salaries to teachers was headed by Jamal Al Abri, the chairman of the Education and Scientific Research Committee, in the presence of other committee members.

Speaking to Times of Oman, he said, “The committee had received some concerns, which included delayed payments of more than four months to Omani and expatriate teachers.” He added, “The committee took action first by sending a quick verbal address to the Ministry of Education over the reasons for the delay.

The ministry responded, saying the steps to solve this was currently underway, and a solution would be found in the coming days.”

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