Oman’s Public Authority of Consumer Protection (PACP) has called on consumers to file complaints if they notice price manipulations in discount offers. There have been recent reports of so called discount prices being quoted which represent the real value of the goods in the market and another larger price is stated as the value of the goods before the discount was applied which is incorrect. The Commission has stated that it follows up on such complaints and will issue directions to violating institutions. Consumers are being asked to send the name of the shop and details of their complaints. Oman Sultani Decree No. 66/2014 and its executive regulation issued by Oman Decree No. 77/2017 under Article 36, when making discounts on the prices of goods and services, a supplier must obtain the approval of the relevant authority after coordination with the Authority, to ascertain the prices in accordance with the regulations determined by the Authority, provide a list of the number of goods available for each type of discounts and declare the sale price before and during the period of discounts for each commodity in a clear manner which is readable and provide the percentage of discount. In addition, it will cost 200 Rials to issue or renew a license for glasses shop in Muscat Governorate, 3000 Rials to renew a license of a private hospital in Muscat Governorate and 500 Rials to renew a license of a private clinic.
New visa rules for tourists looking to visit Oman have been announced by the Oman Royal Police. Under the new rules, those looking to travel to the Sultanate will have to apply for an e-visa. It will cost 50 AED. It will be valid for up to four weeks and could be extended for another week. They can be applied for online and applications will be approved in up to four days. The new system offers unsponsored and sponsored tourist visas; tourist visas for GCC residents and express visas. The families of residents, their drivers, housemaids and companions can also use the system providing they have at least three months remaining on their passports.
The Acting Director of the Legal Department at the Commerce and Industry Ministry has announced Oman Sultani Decree No. 53/2019 promulgating the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law will come into force on 1 July 2020. Under the Law, individuals and institutions who have declared bankruptcy will need to pay their creditors back. The payment will be agreed through a payment restructuring plan. Both parties will have to agree to the plan and it must be ratified by a court. The court’s judgment will have to be published in the Official Gazette and the bankrupt will have to pay it. Traders who make false bankruptcy claims will be fined between 200 and 500 Rials.
The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has launched a nationwide awareness campaign to educate businesses on the benefits of registering their workers through the e-visa system. According to ROP officials, the work e-visa will be launched soon. There will be no need for those who apply for the e-visa to visit service outlets at the Directorate General of Passports and Residence. To sign up for an e-visa, visit www.evisa.rop.gov.com
Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) will start to implement the GSO 1943/2016 specification on cosmetics and personal care products as an Omani specification, by the end of January 2020. The specification will come into effect at the end of the six-month period that was previously granted after the issue of Oman Ministerial Decision No 128/2019 on the same specification on 28 July 2019. Shaima bint Khamees al Baluchi, a chemical products quality control specialist at the Directorate General of Standards and Specifications at MoCI, has said the decision has resulted from the increase in manufacturing and importing of cosmetics and personal care products in the country. The aim is to make sure all these products are safe for human use. The specification will require a number of criteria to be followed to ensure the safety of beauty, cosmetics and personal care products. It has also been stated the properties of products should not change while they are in storage or while in use, and they should be labelled to show all ingredients they contain.
Oman’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry has organised a workshop to address the importance of establishing a special economic zone in the Governorate of Musandam. The workshop considered the exceptional business environment of this governorate and looked at required incentives for activating economic activities and mechanism for creating more opportunities for job seekers. The initial suggestions provided by the majority of participants included the need for establishing free markets, commercial spaces, technology parks and other activities under the umbrella of the proposed special economic zone.
Oman’s Ministry of Manpower has extended the temporary ban on hiring expats to four more professions in the private sector as part of the Omanisation strategy. The ban will be extended for another six months starting from 5 August 2019 and will be extended to certain professions in the fields of IT, accounting and finance, sales and marketing, management and human resources, insurance, media, the medical profession, airports, engineering, and roles that involve technicians. The ban was specified in Oman Ministerial Decision No. 73/2019.
The Omani Government is considering a new Securities Law to help the securities market grow in the Sultanate. The draft is being reviewed by the Legal Affairs Ministry. It is expected to be approved and discussed by the end of the first quarter of 2020. If approved, there will be a Capital Market Law and a separate Securities Law. It will allow the roll-out of a diverse range of instruments for trading and investment in the securities market which will include derivatives such as swaps, forwards, futures, mortgage-backed securities and options. None of these can be traded in Oman at the moment. Trading in commodity derivatives, currency swaps, interest rate futures, credit default swaps, CFDs and international indices will also be allowed and Trusts will be introduced. They will provide a vehicle to Collective Investment Schemes. It will allow crowdfunding for small and medium enterprises to raise finance for their operations and growth.
Oman’s Sultan has issued five Sultani Decrees including a Decree approving the Bankruptcy Law. Oman Sultani Decree No. 53/2019 will be published in the Official Gazette and will come into force one year after its publication in the Gazette. It will repeal Book Five of the Sultanate’s Trade Law and anything else which contradicts or contravenes it will be repealed. The Commerce and Industry Minister will issue the relevant regulations and decisions to implement the law following input from other specialist departments.
Oman’s Capital Market Authority has announced it has launched a portal for registering potential directors. Interested professionals will need to register on the portal so as companies and shareholders looking to appoint professionals on their boards can visit the portal and view potential candidates who meet their business requirements. Family owned businesses and investment funds have also been urged to register on the portal.