MoCIIP begins to reduce commercial registration fees for foreign investors 

Muscat: The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP) is actively working on collaborations with relevant entities to improve the investment environment in the Sultanate of Oman by overcoming challenges facing foreign investors, defined by law as any natural or legal non-Omani entity establishing an investment project in Oman.

To further enhance the investment environment in Oman, the MoCIIP has begun implementing the Council of Ministers’ decision to reduce commercial registration fees for foreign investors and treat them similarly to Omani investors, with the requirement of employing at least one Omani employee as a minimum, in addition to providing incentives and facilitations for foreign investors to encourage them to establish various projects that contribute to the national economy and promote economic activity.

Oman’s investment sector witnessed numerous facilitations and streamlined procedures for investors. This includes allowing foreign investors to invest and own 100%, investing in over 1700 commercial and industrial activities via Oman Business Platform, reducing and merging 836 government services, exempting investors from minimum capital requirements, providing lands and properties needed for investment projects, tax exemptions for up to 30 years, abolishing import or re-export fees, and launching the Investor Residency Program initiative to attract high-quality foreign investments. This program facilitates residency for investors and their families interested in investing in Oman for periods ranging from 5 to 10 years, extendable.

The MoCIIP emphasized the importance of foreign investors obtaining investment licensing to ensure the implementation of their investment projects. This involves providing all investor information (name, nationality, place of residence, banking details), specifying the type of activity to be undertaken, setting the project’s implementation timeline and start date, determining the expected number of employees, demonstrating the investor’s expertise for project execution, presenting a feasibility study from a licensed office in Oman, and ensuring the estimated project value aligns with the feasibility study.

Foreign investors are now able to register all types of companies outlined in the Commercial Companies Law No. (18/2019) and engage in all economic activities, except those listed as prohibited for foreign investors. These prohibited activities amount to 95, alongside activities regulated by specific laws.

The Investment Services Center at the MoCIIP collaborates with the departments concerned to periodically review this list.

The MoCIIP clarified that foreign workers who are under contracts with government or private entities can establish a company subject to the Foreign Capital Investment Law if their employer does not object or if their employment contract is terminated. However, self-employed workers are not allowed to establish a company under the Foreign Capital Investment Law, nor are foreign investors or business partners permitted to engage in any profession. Their role is limited to supervising and monitoring operations within their establishment.

The Investment Services Center in the Ministry has conducted evaluations of all foreign investment companies across various governorates in Oman in the recent period. This was aimed at ensuring compliance with the regulations and procedures outlined in the Foreign Capital Investment Law.

Additionally, the number of foreign companies failing to appoint an Omani employee within one year of establishment amounted to 2,039 commercial registrations. Consequently, the ministry imposed administrative obligations on these companies until their status is rectified. The MoCIIP highlighted that the volume of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the Sultanate of Oman exceeded RO 25 billion by the end of Q3 2023, marking an increase of RO 4.8 billion compared to Q3 2022. FDI in the manufacturing sector reached RO 1.4 billion, attracting 35 industrial projects with investments surpassing RO 800 million in various industrial activities across industrial and free zones. Total trade exchange between Oman and the world amounted to around RO 37.6 billion in 2023, with Omani commodity exports totaling RO 22.6 billion, including RO 13.7 billion from the oil and gas sector and RO 7.4 billion from the non-oil sector. Additionally, the contribution of the re-export sector reached RO 1.4 billion, reflecting a 12.8% increase from 2022.

Different forms of investment contribute to expanding economic growth and targeting projects in diversification sectors, thereby boosting GDP growth, generating job opportunities for Omanis, and facilitating the export of Omani products to various countries worldwide.

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