Business Life & Opportunities
Oman has introduced radical and effective reforms on the general investment climate to attract both local and foreign investments.New trade and investment laws were framed providing better degrees of vitality and flexibility to contain the international developments so as to serve the interests of the Omani economy regionally and internationally.
The Oman government supports the private sector to provide appropriate climate to launch the private sector enterprises and to stimulate trade and investment activities
In terms of business opportunities, Muscat offers one of the best of infrastructure you can match with any other gulf country. Muscat has heavy exports of petroleum, dates and fishries products. It is also a hub of major international trading companies and corporate giants such as Seiko, Subaru, Helwett Packard, Toshiba and General Motors.
Muscat holds promising avenues for all foreign investors and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). A plum business investment in Muscat will help in you reaping huge benefits in the long run. You can easily set up your company in Muscat, if you abide by the labor laws of the country and its national policies just like in any other Gulf country that is open to foreign investments. In case you are new to international trade, it is essential to know more about this place and its business opportunities. Once you have a clear idea about the business life and various opportunities available in Muscat, you can certainly take an advantage of the good financial prospects.
In order to know more about the trade and commerce opportunities, you can check out the Oman Chamber of Commerce- Chamber Oman that is the legal owner of all government and privately owned business affairs in Muscat. In order to start any business in Muscat, one has to take the membership certificate from Chamber Oman and only then one acquires the legal right to pursue or establish a business house in Muscat. Once an organization gets the certificate from the Chamber Oman, it becomes the privileged member of its database and other useful information that helps it in establishing its business in an easy and effective way. In order to know more about the Chamber Oman, one can visit its official website at www.chamberoman.com and obtain all the necessary information from its service portal in order to know more about the terms and conditions on setting up a business house in Muscat.
From the Chamber Oman, you can get essential information about the industrial laws and regulations of Muscat and about the viable trade and investment opportunities available in sectors like agriculture, fisheries and tourism. Chamber Oman also helps in providing knowledge about the advanced technology such as financial and technical know-how and other statistical information that can work wonders for an upcoming organization. For those who come to Muscat in order to set up business activities related to manufacturing, finance, import, export and other sectors, they will find favorable political and economic conditions in Muscat as it does not faces any political uncertainly or economical insecurity due to its monarchial ruling system. This makes the economy of Muscat stable and a great centre for international trade and commerce activities.
The economy of Muscat encourages privatization and foreign participation in industries to increase employment. Therefore, it offers a large number of privileges and incentives to encourage foreign entrepreneurs and to maximize the returns on their investment.
Oil reserve: Oman’s oil reserves are estimated to be around 5.75 billion barrels and its daily oil production is around 954,800 barrels or 344 million barrels per annum.
Gas reserve: Oman’s gas reserves are estimated to be around 29.8 trillion cubic feet and Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) is processing part of it for the local demand.
Mineral ores: Several natural minerals are available in Oman, which can be processed locally. These include, among other minerals, copper (around 25 million tons) and gold (around 1.5 million tons).
Conducive Economic Policies
a. Free economy and full competitiveness
Oman’s economy is based on the free economy concept where competition, free markets and price mechanism concepts prevail. The market economy remains the main focus of Oman’s strategy since its modern renaissance and the state encourages and supports the private sector enterprises.
b. Freedom of Money Transfer
There are no exchange controls in Oman. Capital and income may be repatriated abroad without any restriction.
Construction of infrastructure facilities began based on the objectives of the first Five-Year-Plan (1976-1980) which coincided with the oil boom period. This prompted the growth of non-oil sectors. Oman now has 8,477 kilometres of paved roads
There is a modern international airport that handles around 38,184 inbound and outbound flights and around 2.7 million passengers per annum.
Furthermore, Oman’s modern seaports (Mina Sultan Qaboos, Muscat and Salalah Port) and other utilities compliment the industrial sector as they act as the export points for the national products. The expansion of the Salaam port, which is close to major international container traffic route between Europe and the Far East, is aimed at making Oman an international re-export center. The Sohar port is also one of the important natural ports in Oman as its waters are deep and is not affected by sea conditions.
TelecommunicationsThe Sultanate is served by an efficient, state-of-the art telecommunications system that is continuously being upgraded with new technology. The entire transmission network is gradually being replaced with fiber optic cables, and is almost 100% digital. Satellite links allow sending and accessing data rapidly. A full range of Internet services is available, making global information and quick communication freely accessible to all.
General Procedures and Conditions for Establishing Commercial Companies
1. Commercial Registration
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry issues Commercial Registration.
Fill up the application form for registering in the Commercial Registry.
Fill up the Specimen Signature form (in duplicate).
Obtain the approval of the Committee, (which decides the trade names of the companies), on the name of the establishment in order to avoid duplication of the name.
Attach a copy of the personal identity card.
Pay the required registration fee.
2. Industrial Registration
a) Procedures for obtaining an industrial registration:
MOCI has identified two types of investments for the industrial investor, namely: the Form (a) and Form (b). Form (a) contains industrial projects while Form (b) includes other projects.
Form (a) contains 24 industrial projects that can be directly licensed by the Industrial Registry or the regional offices. The project owner shall complete the following formalities:
Fill the relevant form.
Attach a copy of the Commercial Registration (CR), if any, or a copy of the passport or ID card.
Produce the initial approval on the industrial licence valid for three months amendable.
Produce the approval of the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Environment (MRME) (for project on which environmental conditions shall apply).
Produce environmental evaluation for projects on which environmental conditions apply.
Obtain industrial license certificate and then the applications shall be referred to the MRME, for necessary action.
Fill the form
Attach copy of CR (if any) or passport/ ID card and catalogues of the plant and machinery to be used in the project.
Obtain necessary recommendation.
Produce MRME approval.
Produce industrial licence certificate for 6 months extendable.
b) Procedures for obtaining the Industrial Registration:
Fill in the relevant forms (a) and (b).
Attach a copy of valid CR.
Payment of registration fee.
c) Procedures for changing location:
A letter in this regard stating the new location.
Produce approval from MRME.
d) Procedures for requesting factory expansion:
Produce industrial expansion licence application of form (a) or (b).
Attach a letter explaining the expanded capacity.
e) Procedures for changing the name:
Submit a letter in this regard.
Produce approval of the Commercial Registry for the new name.
f) Procedures for updating data (new partner(s), exit of partner(s), sale of factory):
Submit a letter requesting updating of data.
Fill in the relevant forms, based on which an internal memo will be forwarded to the Documentation and Attestation Department to complete the formalities.
Inform the Industrial Registry after documentation.
g) Procedures for renewing the Industrial Registration:
Fill the renewal form.
Produce a copy of the valid CR.
Payment of renewal fee.
h) Procedures for extending the Industrial Licence:
Submit extension application stating the reasons for the delay in project execution.
3. Procedures for setting up joint- stock companies:
a) General Legal Requirements:
The capital of the public joint-stock company should not be less than RO 500,000 (five hundred thousand) Omani Rials and the capital in the case of limited joint-stock company, whose shares will not be floated for public subscription, should not be less than RO 150,000 (One hundred and fifty thousand) Omani Rials.
The number of partners should not be less than 3 persons and rate of their shares in the capital of the public joint stock company should not be less than 20% of the capital.
The shares offered for public subscription should not be less than 40% of the capital.
b) Documents to be submitted:
A letter to the Director General of Commerce for permission to set up a joint stock company.
This letter should include brief details of the type of the company, its equity capital, activities and names of the founders and signed by three founders.
Original and two copies of the Memorandum of Incorporation and the Articles of Association of the company signed by all founders.
A form showing non-presence of same name and the approval of the committee on it.
Photocopies of the passport of the natural founders.
Resolution of the partners’ assembly in case of general partnership and limited partnership companies and the Board Resolution in case of Joint Stock companies, while mentioning the number of shares subscribed to the name of the authorised signatory on the memorandum and articles of association, if one of the founders was a juristic person. Also copies of the computer printout and valid CR certificate of these companies.
Copies of the approvals of other ministries, if the nature of the company’s activity necessitates approvals from other Ministries of Information, Education, Health, Board of Muscat Securities market, etc.
Memorandum of Incorporation of Articles or Association, copy of the CR, signing authorisation attested by Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Oman’s embassy or embassy of any Arab country which is an Arab league member, situated in the country of the foreign founder’s head office, if he was a juristic person.
Bank certificate stating deposit of the value of their shares by the founders.
4. Licence for Practicing Management Business
The applicant shall do the following:
a) Fill in the relevant form in Arabic.
b) Attach the following documents:
A copy of the registration certificate of the office or company’s Head Office, duly attested by competent authorities.
A copy of the management contract between the applicant and the Omani firm, duly attested, if it was signed outside Oman.
A copy of the authorization issued to the representative of the firms in Oman who will implement the contract in Oman, attested by competent authorities.
A copy of the passport of the firm’s representative in Oman.
5. Licensing of joint Professional Companies Pursuant to Royal Decree No. 120/94
Applicants should fulfil the following:
Fill in the relevant application form.
Submit memorandum of incorporation of a commercial accompany pursuant to the Commercial Companies Law No. 4/74
The Omani partner should submit the following:
University qualification, not less than a bachelor’s degree in one of the engineering subjects or equivalent duly recognized plus a list of curriculum.
Experience of not less than 5 years in his specialization after graduation, in the case of post-graduates or a Doctorate in his specialization.
Photocopy of passport/identity card.
A declaration stating that he was not convicted for any misdemeanour or breach of trust.
The Omani participation in the company should not be less than 35%.
For foreign partner:
An official certificate from the Commercial Registry or any other competent authority in the country of his head office, stating that the company is still registered and it has an experience of not less than 10 years in the same field, duly attested.
An undertaking from the head office for its responsibility on the share of the foreign partner, duly attested.
Signing authorization duly approved with attested copies of educational qualifications in the concerned field and experience of not less than 10 years.
The memorandum of incorporation of the head office, duly attested.
The latest balance sheet of the head office, duly attested.
The businesses carried out by the company during the period in the same specialization.
General Requirements for Joint Professional Companies:
The foreign professional should have at less 5 years’ experience in the field after graduating in engineering. Omanis with university qualification can be appointed without requiring any previous experience. However, the officials of the office should approve their nature of activity.
The Omani partner should be involved in the companies on a full-time basis.
6. Branches of foreign professional companies:
The applicant for setting up this type of office should fulfil the following:
a) Fill in the relevant application form in Arabic.
b) Attach the following documents:
A copy of the registration certificate of the head office stating the existence of the company/office at the time of application and of the certificate of incorporation or any other certificate to prove the company’s experience of 10 years.
An undertaking from the head office bearing full responsibility of the branch in Oman, duly attested.
Authorisation for the resident manager or representative in Oman for signing on behalf of the head office, duly attested. Attach original or copy of attested qualification certificates; provided the experience is not less than 10 years, and copy of passport.
Details of experience and previous projects carried out by the head office.
A copy of the memorandum of incorporation or articles of association of the head office.
The last annual balance sheet of the head office.
c) These certificate should be attested by the competent authorities in the country of the head office and Oman’s embassy (if any) or the embassy of any Arab country which is a member of the Arab League.
Assistance can be obtained from the following organisations:
Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI)
P.O Box 1400 Ruwi 112 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 707684
Fax: (968) 708497
Oman Centre for Investment Promotion & Export Development (OCIPED)
P.O .Box 25 Wadi Kabir 117 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 7712344
P.O .Box 25 Wadi Kabir 117 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 7712344
Fax: (968) 7710890
Ministry of Commerce & Industry (MOCI)
P.O.Box 550 Muscat 113 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 7713500
Fax: (968) 7717239
Public Establishment for Industrial Estates
P.O.Box 2 Rusayl 124 - Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 626070
Fax: (968) 626053
Rusayl Industrial Estate
P.O.Box 2 Rusayl 124 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 626080
Fax: (968) 626349
Sohar Industrial Estate
P.O.Box 118 Falaj Al Qabail 322 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 851282
Fax: (968) 851307
Raysut Industrial Estate
P.O.Box 2317 Salalah 211 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 219222
Fax: (968) 219221
Nizwa Industry Estate
P.O.Box 998 Nizwa 611 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 439089
Fax: (968) 439086
Buraimi Industrial Estate
P.O.Box 255 Buraimi 512 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 655477
Fax: (968) 652033
Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries
P.O.Box 467 Muscat 113 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 696300
Fax: (968) 605304
Ministry of Development
P.O.Box 881 Muscat 113 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 698900
Fax: (968) 605304
Ministry of Oil & Gas
P.O.Box 551 Muscat 113 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 603333
Fax: (968) 696972
Muscat Securities Market
P.O.Box 3256 Ruwi 112 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 702607
Fax: (968) 702691
Oman Development Bank
P.O.Box 903 Muscat 113 – Sultanate of Oman
Tel: (968) 738021
Fax: (968) 738026
Terms and conditions for import of commodities to Oman
The following terms and conditions shall be met by importers:
1. The importer should be an establishment owned by Omani citizens, only or a company established in accordance with the prevailing laws of the Sultanate of Oman.
2. If the company has non-Omani partners, the share of Omani citizens in its capital should not be less than 51%.
3. The place of business or head office of the company/establishment should be in Oman.
4. The company/establishment should be registered with the Commercial Registry at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and a member of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
5. Importation should be one of the activities of the company/establishment.
6. The imported commodity should be one of the goods allowed to be imported by the company/establishment as per the importation form issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
7. The importer should provide spare parts and maintenance in case of commodities that require them.
8. The country of origin of all commodities imported into Oman should be written on them. If they were foodstuff, all details should be written in Arabic (such as the contents, country of origin, date of production and expiry, volume or weight).
9. The imported commodities should not be among those prohibited because of not conforming to the standard specifications applied in Oman, or those totally barred from importing, or those require prior approval from competent
authorities, such as arms and ammunition, alcoholic beverages, currencies, narcotics, etc.)
10. The imported goods should be accompanied by documents proving their origin, type and nature.
Custom Duties in Oman
The Custom Law of Oman was issued in 1978 fixing the custom tariff, which was subsequently amended several times, the last of which was on 13.12.1999, based on a decision of the Minister of National Economy.
The custom tariff is as follows:
I. All commodities imported to Oman are subject to custom duties at the rate of 5% of their value, except the items for which higher custom duties are charged as shown below.
II. Exempted Commodities:
1. Edible live animals
2. Meat and internal organs of all edible animals, fresh, chilled or frozen. (Except pork)
3. All types of milk, i.e. sweetened, pasteurized and powdered, excluding flavoured milk
7. Fresh vegetables
9. Fresh fruit excluding dates and bananas
11. Rice, wheat, barley and maize
12. Cooking fats and oils of all types, excluding synthetic fat and lard.
14. Petroleum refined products
15. Agricultural pesticides
16. All types of printed books: newspapers, magazines, periodicals, maps, plans and engineering drawings.
17. Farming equipment
18. Legal currencies
19. Gold bars and coins
20. Animal feed
21. Government imports
22. Goods produced in GCC states, provided that the concerned industrial unit is qualified under the qualification number and accompanied by a Certificate of Origin issued by the competent authorities.
III. Goods subject to protective duties:
1. Dried lemon: 100%
2. Dates and dried dates: 20%
3. Fresh banana: 25%
IV. Goods with high custom duties:
1. Special types of meats and meat products (pork): 100%
2. Alcoholic beverages of all kinds: 100%
3. Tobacco and tobacco products: 100%. The minimum custom duty payable is shown below:
|Raw or unprocessed tobacco and its products:||RO 2 per kilogram|
Finely cut/pressed/processed tobacco:
|RO 6 per kilogram net|
|Cigarettes:||RO 10 per 1000 cigarettes|
|RO 20 per kilogram with cover|
Real Estate in Muscat
In case you are looking to visit the International Property Exhibition, some of the added attractions of IPE include high profile exhibitors that showcase plum projects for architects, marketers, town planners and large business houses.
Well, if you have made your mind to make investment in the real estate industry of Muscat, apart from the IPE, you can check out some of the other local real estate agents that can help you in finding the best real estate investment deals. The real estate agents of Muscat include Abdulla al Harthy Trading, Al Habib and Company, the Al Wadi Commercial Centre, Cluttons and Partners, Fayadh Mohamed Musa Establishment, the Hamptons International and Partners, the Hay al Rahbah Trading and Contracting and the Kifah Real Estate Services, the Talal al Zawawi Enterprises and the Nasser Bin Abdullatif Alserkal along with many others. All these real estate agents will help you in choosing the best real estate of your choice by making sure you get the right kind of property whether it is a residential or commercial property.
If you are looking for a commercial land deal, it is best to survey the land so as to make strategic investments. The same goes for all who are looking for residential property deals. One should remember the fact that a good real estate investment can help in providing a profitable deal. In order to attract investors from all parts of the world, the government of Oman is taking every step to promote the real estate and investment opportunities of Muscat. From an investors point of view, it is essential to make the best of given attractive economic prospects and make sound investments. For businessmen, Muscat is the haven of opportunities and any real estate investments in this place is the best way to enhance growth prospects. Muscat offers lucrative real estate deals to both national and international investors.
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