According to local newspaper reports, the Undersecretary for Oman’s Labour Ministry has announced the Omanisation rules for sub-contractors. Under the rules, Omanis will be prioritised. The sub-contracting of expatriates should stop to enable this.
Oman’s Shoura Council has discussed a Joint Panel report on the draft VAT Law. Their discussion followed the referral of the draft law to it by the State Council and associated discrepancies. The Economic and Financial Committee of the Shoura Council had previously proposed VAT be applied only if economic growth of at least 3% was achieved. They had also proposed social security families and those with limited or low incomes be potentially exempt. The Shoura Council sent the draft law back to the State Council to finalise. The VAT Law is expected to come into force in the first half of next year and follows the introduction of excise tax in the Sultanate.
Oman’s Public Prosecution has clarified the employment rules. They clarified expatriate employees who leave an employer to work for another will be jailed for one month and fined 1,000 Rials. The penalties will be doubled for multiple violators. Those who work without a permit from the relevant authorities by an expatriate or work for another employer apart from their licensed employer will also be jailed for a month and fined 800 Rials. They will also be deported and refused entry to the Sultanate.
The Omani Court of Appeal has sentenced a public employee to 10 years in jail after convicting him of embezzling 1.2 million Omani riyals and of money laundering. The defendant was convicted of embezzlement and money laundering in two separate cases. In the first, he was given a five-year jail term and fined 1.2 million Riyals. In the second, the court sentenced the convicted employee to another five years in jail for money laundering and a fine of 50,000 Omani riyals. The court also ordered the dismissal of the convicted employee from his post and he has been banned from taking on public posts forever. The seizure of his funds has also been ordered.
Oman’s Commerce and Industry Minister has issued a Ministerial Decision amending the classification of SMEs in the Sultanate. The aim is to take account of the classification of these establishments in other GCC states. It means these entities will be classified according to their workforce and revenue. Under the new classification, a micro establishment will have one to ten employees and its annual revenues will be less than 150,000 Rials. A small establishment will have 11 to 50 employees and an annual revenue of between 150,000 and 1,250,000 Rials. A medium establishment will have 51-150 employees and an annual revenue of between 1,250,000 and five million Rials.
Oman’s Manpower Ministry has issued a clarification on reports of pay being cut by 50%. The Ministry was responding to reports in other media saying employers were cutting pay by 50% instead of 30%. The Ministry said the Supreme Anti-Coronavirus Committee has not approved a percentage cut to employee pay once an employee has used up all their paid annual leave. Once the paid annual leave has been used up employers can negotiate reductions in their pay for three months. Any reductions must be accompanied by a reduction in working time.
Oman’s Public Authority for Privatisation and Partnership has approved the Implementing Regulations to the Sultanate’s Public Private Partnership Law. Among other things, the Implementing Regulation specifies how these projects should be carried out. The Authority was established under Oman Sultani Decree No. 54/2019.
The Omani Police have announced customs clearing requirements will be relaxed. The aim is to help the commercial sector. Given the current circumstances in the country and the world, customs clearing requirements will be relaxed. Under the new requirements, imported goods can be cleared even when the importer is unable to provide the relevant documents and certificates from the source country.
Oman’s State Council is considering a draft hidden trade law. If approved, it will help companies identify loopholes and boost Omanisation across various sectors. Hidden trade occurs when a company is owned on paper by an Omani national but, in practice is run by someone else. This person does not create employment for the company’s employees but instead makes them find their own jobs while still being employed by the company. Under the new law, those found guilty of engaging in hidden trade will be punished. The State Council will review the draft law and then refer it back to the Council’s Economic Committee.
Oman’s Commerce and Industry Ministry has announced companies must operate in the sector or sectors they were licensed to operate in. Those who do not comply will be punished in line with the country’s legal and regulatory regime. They could even be shut down. They must also dissolve and liquidate in line with the appropriate laws and regulations.