New investments in as many as 1,200 different types of commercial and economic activities will receive preferential treatment under the Economic Stimulus Plan (ESP) unveiled by the Omani government last month to help hasten the Sultanate’s economic recovery.
According to Qais bin Mohammed al Yousuf, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP), new businesses operating in any of the designated 1,200 economic fields will be able to commence operations as soon as they complete their commercial registration formalities.
The measure will help combat the widely held sentiment that the permitting and approvals process is steeped in bureaucracy to the detriment of Oman’s goal to enhance its business and investment environment.
“Of a total of around 1,800 economic activities regulated by the ministry, we are trying to come up with around 1,200 activities that (investors) can immediately start their operations without requiring any further permits upon the establishment of their business,” he said.
“This means that, upon registration of your company, you can immediately start operating your business.”
In an interview to Oman TV over the weekend, Al Yousuf said the ministry is currently reviewing all 1,800 economic activities under its remit with a view to identifying 1,200 that will subject to fast-track commercial start-up under the newly launched Economic Stimulus Plan.
“We are working on this (initiative) and hope to see this ready within a month,” he stated.
The Economic Stimulus Plan, approved by Council of Ministers last week, aims at supporting efforts to mitigate the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on the national economy.
The plan enshrines a set of stimulus measures and initiatives with the aim to support economic recovery efforts, enhance economic activities performance, and attract more foreign investments. It complements the Medium Term Fiscal Plan (2020-2024) unveiled last year.
Among the array of incentives and concessions contained in the Plan is a provision that automatically entitle foreign investment companies to three work permits for recruiting expatriates immediately upon establishment and after issuance of the commercial registration.
To eliminate any bureaucracy that may impede the smooth and speedy startup of such new businesses, the MoCIIP is working alongside government stakeholder ministries and agencies that are also part of the regulatory process, said Al Yousuf.
“We are working on a programme along with eight other government agencies to track what approvals an investor needs from the time the Commercial Registration (CR) is issued to the start of his business. Thus, for around 1,200 activities, the new investor has automatic approval to start his business as soon as his CR is online.
To this end, we are working collectively with the other government agencies responsible for the economic sector to try to see how we can further ease the process.
This is a directive from His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, who is keen to see this happen, and the Cabinet as well, which is following up this matter to ensure that the programme is launched as soon as possible,” he added.
Source Link: www.omanobserver.om