Muscat: The number of commercial activities registered in the various governorates of the Sultanate during the fourth quarter of 2017 exceeded 153,000, an increase of 369 per cent compared to 32,716 activities during the same period in 2016.
"This is evidence of the success of the Ministry's policies in encouraging investment in the Sultanate, as the Sultanate is keen to facilitate all procedures for foreign investors so that investors can register and practice their businesses easily," the Ministry of Commerce and Industry's (MOCI) latest data showed.
The department of statistics of the ministry has pointed out that the movement of commercial activity during the last quarter of 2017 was concentrated in the Muscat governorate, where it was 32.8 per cent of the total volume of commercial activity in the Sultanate. This was followed by North Al Batinah governorate with 14.9 per cent and Dhofar governorate with 12.7 per cent. The rest of the commercial activity was distributed among all other governorates.
"The Invest Easily portal has reduced the number of procedures required to a third of what it was before. The portal provides a 79 e-service that allows investors to access a range of business transactions as quickly as possible through the Internet," the Ministry's statement said.
"The portal has also been easily linked with eight government agencies and has simplified and accelerated the process of registering and managing companies in Oman and making dealings with government agencies faster and more transparent," it added.
MOCI said that Muscat governorate recorded 50,426 commercial activities, the highest in the Sultanate. It is also a considerable increase over 8,740 reported during the same period in 2016.
More than 400 commercial activities can be practiced without waiting for any approvals, MOCI said.
"There are a lot of economic activities that can be done without applying for a licence. More than 400 commercial activities can be practiced without waiting for any approvals. The process of obtaining licences for commercial activities is undergoing transformation, and work is continuing to transform it into a complete e-service and it will be available as self-service through the portal," the statement said.
The Sultanate also improved its position by 127 in the starting business category in the World Bank’s influential Ease of Doing Business rankings for 2017, and it was ranked first in the region for business start-ups in starting the business category for 2017.
"This significant improvement is due to the changes and facilities that accompanied the implementation of the Invest Easy initiative. An investor can obtain the commercial register within a short period of time and at any time without the need to review any government agency and without a minimum capital," MOCI said in a statement.