Oman's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MOCIIP) have set out a list of activities that restricts foreign investment and will come into effect on Monday, December 14, 2020. According to the order issued, only Omani investors will be permitted to invest in the specified small and medium sectors of trade, the Omani News Agency reported On Sunday.
The official decree stated that Omanis can invest in all areas where full foreign investment is allowed through a partnership with foreigners. The new Foreign Investment Policy, which came into force earlier this year, allows 100 per cent foreign investment in various sectors to create a favourable environment for foreign investment in Oman and create an investment-friendly environment. However, the Ministry has also clarified the exceptions of 49 categories of investment slots of small and medium enterprises (SME) which are only open to nationals.
The revised articles of Foreign Investment Act stated that the invested ventures before the implementation of the act shall be excepted from the application of its provisions and can be assigned to third parties with the written consent of the respective authority. It also specified that any contradictions on the law or its provisions shall be annulled.
The exemptions specified by MOCIIP include manufacturing of Omani Halwa, making and retail sale of Omani daggers, retail sale of handicrafts, designing and tailoring of Arab and non-Arab clothes, sportswear or military clothes, and so on. The priority in these areas is to preserve cultural heritage and empower the national investors through government policy.
According to the news agency, in order to provide a favourable investment environment for Gulf investors, they will be considered as an Omani investor in the conduct of economic activities in Oman, taking into account the economic agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
"It is important to review this list of activities and others on a regular basis, and to work on adding other activities to the list if necessary, and to focus on foreign investment for activities that need a large capital, added value and provide job opportunities," stated Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) in its official statement while urging national SME owners to benefit from the decision.