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.
Oman’s Manpower Ministry has announced a professional visa ban for sales and marketing professionals has been introduced. The ban is contained in Oman Decision No. 268/2019 and means the visa ban will continue for another six months from 31 May. It will not apply to visa renewals but will apply to new visa applications.
Oman’s Secretariat General for Taxation has announced selective tax will be introduced in the Sultanate on 15 June. It will apply to tobacco, pork meat and energy and soft drinks. 50% tax on soft drinks will be levied and 100% on tobacco, pork meat and energy drinks. Manufacturers, importers and those selling these goods in the country will have to pay the tax. By 14 June they will have to have to submit a declaration stipulating they deal with these goods. The tax will have to be paid by 30 June.
The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority has announced tax agents in the country must comply with the five professional standards for tax agents. It follows the publication of a new professional standards guide by the Authority. It provides a detailed explanation of the five standards and conditions tax agents must comply with. These standards are integrity, objectivity, professional competence, confidentiality and professional behaviour. The Authority can strike a tax agent off if they consider it appropriate. They must notify the agent within five working days of their decision and give the reasons. In addition, agents can only practise if they have been approved by the Authority and will be accountable to the Authority.
Oman’s Capital Market Authority has announced it has issued new Takeover and Acquisition Regulations. Oman Decision No. 2/2019 will apply to public joint stock companies listed on the Muscat Securities Market (MSM). It has been published in the Official Gazette.