Within the framework of the efforts made to improve the business environment in the Sultanate of Oman and to attract local and foreign investments through offering various incentives, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion ( MoCIIP) , has inaugurated on Monday 27TH February 2023, the Invest Oman Lounge.
The inauguration ceremony was under the patronage of HE, Sultan bin Salem Al Habsi, Minister of Finance, in the presence of HE Qais bin Mohammad Al Youssef, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, and a number of their Highnesses and their excellences, the ambassadors of the Gulf countries, a number of investors, business owners from inside and abroad of the Sultanate of Oman and officials and representatives of government and private entities.
In cooperation with the relevant government and private entities and in accordance with the best international practices, The Invest Oman Lounge is a unified window for integrated services to provide all the required assistance to the investors and offer investment opportunities that exceed RO one million
A strategic role in developing the investments:
The establishment of the Invest Oman Loungeaims at providing a stimulated climate for local and foreign investment, where all the required procedures for establishing, operating and completing investment projects in the Sultanate of Oman will proceed through this hall. The Invest Oman Lounge offers integrated and well-thought-out investment opportunities in all sectors along with the provided incentives .The lounge contributes to strengthening the principle of complementarity of roles with partners and striving to provide investment facilitation services efficiently and effectively. The collaboration of government agencies is the main driver for serving the investor in easy ways, speedy and perfection
The Invest Oman Lounge will display investment opportunities and clarifying the paths of localization of opportunities, introducing the investor to the investment environment in the Sultanate of Oman and the provided facilities and services, and clarifying the investment journey in all targeted sectors, as well as specifying the expected time periods for completing the localization of projects. In addition to ensuring the progress of the investor’s journey in accordance with the unified government services guide and the service level agreement with government agencies, and proposing appropriate solutions for he challenges and obstacles facing investors.
An Electronic Platform (Website):
In terms of the digital orientation of the Government of the Sultanate of Oman, and the importance of providing a basic digital infrastructure for theLoungein order to ensure the smoothness and quality of the investor’s journey, a website has been designed for the Invest in Oman as an electronic platform to serve investors, while the investor can access the website of the platform https://investoman.om , where they will benefit from the services it provides.
The website of the electronic platform ,which designed to comply with the requirements and data of investment marketing, includes the main sectors of investment, which are represented in the logistics , the manufacturing , the education , the technology , information technology, the health , the circular economy , the mining , the fisheries , the renewable energy , the agricultural wealth , and the tourism sectors.
The website is introducing the stimulated and flexible business environment, which is supported by a clear legislative framework, where the investor can establish his company through only three main steps, which makes work and investment in the Sultanate of Oman flexible and easy.
The website also introduces the non-oil exports of the Sultanate of Oman. It also includes the available investment opportunities in the various sectors, which are displayed on an interactive map, it also includes the most important information that the investor should know, such as the offered incentives, laws, and investment-related guides, while the hall also provides a call center that works to receive investor inquiries and complaints.The platform offers 14 investment opportunities for small and medium enterprises.
The volume of foreign investment increased :
Statistics showed that the volume of the direct foreign investments in the Sultanate of Oman reached to RO (18.14) billion by the end of the third quarter of 2022, recording an increase of 10.4%, compared to the same period in 2021, while the volume of trade exchange between the Sultanate of Oman and the countries of the world, by the end of September 2022 reached to RO( 30.421) billion , with an increase of 46.18%.
The value of direct foreign investments in the manufacturing sector till the end of the third quarter of 2022 , reached to RO ( 1.717) billion , compared to RO ( 1.512) billion , in the same period in 2021.
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion , clarified that, the number of applications for obtaining an investment license since the launch of the investment licensing service electronically through the “Invest Easy” portal, from November 17, 2021 to 22 February 2023, reached (25,484) completed licenses.
The investment licensing service electronically provides to all companies subject to the foreign capital investment law with the opportunity to obtain investment license for their projects, through self-service or through service centers.
The number of investors who obtained the “Investor Residency” card from the beginning of the launch of the service till 22 February 2023, reached (1416) investor’s cards , as (884) cards were issued for the 10-year category, (527) cards for the 5-year category, and (5) cards for the retirees category .
The Lounge meets the requirements of the investors:
In his speech, Sheikh Hilal bin Abdullah Al Hinai, project head of the “Invest Oman Lounge”, said: When establishing the “Invest Oman Lounge” project, the achievements of others and the best international experiences were identified and taken into account in this regard, that in line with economic requirements, in order to enhance the classification and ranking of the Sultanate of Oman in the reports and indicators related to competitiveness and the business environment , that contribute to maximize the achieved gains of this project.
Sheikh Hilal Al Hinai added that ,the Lounge was established to be culminated in an advanced and integrated system of infrastructure, regulations, legislation and incentives, in which the values of integration, joint work, professionalism and excellence in customer service are evident, and the various relevant parties within the concerned institutions are linked through it, in addition to that it embodies decentralization through integration with the governorates, and through global openness via the embassies of countries in the Sultanate of Oman, and through our embassies abroad.
The head of the project added, "It is a matter of pride for everyone who contributed to the setting of this project, to emphasize that, the establishing of this project was carried out with sincere Omani minds and arms through the various stages of planning, implementation and operation. Therefore, we are pleased to extend our sincere thanks and abundant gratitude to all entities, institutions and individuals who spared no effort to make this project a real and an effective element in the system of stimulating the business and investment environment in the Sultanate of Oman.
The National Program for Investment and Export Development "Nazdaher"
Khalid Said Al Shuaibi, Head of the National Program for Investment and Export Development "Nazdaher" gave a visual presentation, in which he clarified that, the National Program for Investment and Export Development aims to intensify national efforts to attract investments and to create a stimulating environment for investment and development of Omani exports.
Al-Shuaibi pointed out that the program plays a major role in developing investment trends and a package of procedural and legislative capabilities in line with Oman Vision 2040 and the sectors directly related to the investment environment, and following up the implementation of all investment initiatives and projects in accordance with the time plan that the competent authorities committed to, each as for its sector and responsibilities.
The head of the National Program for Investment and Export Development "Nazdaher" stated that ,the program came out with a number of investment tools initiatives, which include the "National Negotiation Team" initiative, which is a reference team in all negotiating items with the investor and is capable of providing support related to investment projects, and the "Investment Incentives Guide" initiative, which is a guide An integrated system that includes all incentives offered to the investor in partnership with government and private agencies”, the “Fast Track initiative”. which is a technical committee composed of agents that meet on a weekly basis to solve the challenges facing investment projects, and the “Framing Investment Opportunities” initiative, which aims at increasing the volume of Omani exports of non-Omani origin.
It also include the “Permanent Residency” initiative, which is an initiative that works to add new categories to the permanent residency initiative, including the category of innovators, as well as the “National Investment Strategy” initiative, which is an initiative to develop an integrated investment strategy that works to unify all investment efforts in the Sultanate of Oman, and the “National Investment Strategy” initiative, "Investment Map" It is an investment map that contains comprehensive information on investment lands and investment opportunities ,and it is of an interactive nature, and the initiative to "prepare a unified national promotion plan", which is a unified plan to promote the Sultanate of Oman that includes all external channels such as ambassadors, commercial offices, etc., and the "Invest Oman Lounge" initiative, which is an integrated hall that provides all services to investors in the investor cycle.
An integrated investment system:
Abbas bin Irshad Al Lawati, Executive Director of The Invest Oman Lounge, said that the "Invest Oman Lounge " concerns with serving and caring for investors within an integrated system related to investment procedures in the Sultanate of Oman, which include , the Omani Investment Authority, the National Program for Investment and Export Development "Nazdaher", the investment promotion sector at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion. , and various government and private agencies, where the efforts of 14 government entities and 6 private agencies are exerting efforts to serve investors under one umbrella, which equipped with the latest programs concerned with facilitating and accelerating procedures.
Economic diversification sectors:
Abbas Al Lawati added: Based on the hubs of economic diversification in Oman Vision 2040, which focuse on specific sectors provided by the business environment in the Sultanate of Oman including : the circular economy sector, the mining , the fisheries , the agricultural wealth , the logistics , the mining , the tourism ,the education , the technology and information technology , the health , and the renewable energy sector, the Loungewill act as a thinking unit that contributes to directing policies related to the business and investment environment ,while providing a clear path for investors in accordance with the type and nature of the investment project.
Investor Relations Manager for each investor:
The Executive Director of the Invest Oman Lounge emphasized that, what distinguishes this Lounge is its provision of a special investor relations manager for each investor to serve him, take care of him, follow up on his investment status, and provide all means to speed up the completion of procedures and various investment services smoothly.
He added that the investor’s journey proceeds according to a clear system, as the journey begins with the investor expressing his desire to invest in the Sultanate of Oman, and it includes the pre-investment stages, then the period of clearing procedures and obtaining approvals, and finally the post-investment stage to ensure the sustainability of the success of investments and the achievement of in-country value added , and throughout this ,the Journey ,the relations manager will follow up on the investor requirements and provide all means of sponsorship and service. He stressed that the investor's journey is managed on a digital customer relationship management system supported by reports, regulations and performance monitoring indicators.
Abbas Al Lawati pointed out that, the " Invest Oman Lounge” will link all the governorates of the Sultanate and the authorities concerned with serving investors by activating a digital system that facilitates the follow-up of investor requests and the completion of their transactions.
The "Invest Oman Lounge” , in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its representatives in the lounge, links with the embassies of the Sultanate of Oman across the world and the foreign embassies in the country to attract investors.
The inauguration ceremony included an introductory tour for their excellences to get acquainted closely with the Invest Oman loungeand the services it provides. The lounge was designed to hold bilateral meetings with investors to discuss their projects and present the investment opportunities available in the Sultanate of Oman.
35 regulations to enhance and improving the business environment:
Based on the unremitting efforts to facilitate the investment environment, 35 regulations have been issued to enhance and improve the business environment during the period from 2020 to 2022; Including: the executive regulations of the foreign capital investment law and defining the list of activities that stimulate the practice of foreign investment in these activities , The regulation of the commercial companies law , and the executive regulation of the competition protection and monopoly prevention law, in addition to the issuance of the conformity system regulations for organizing and managing exhibitions.
The Sultanate of Oman offers various incentives:
The Sultanate of Oman offers various incentives and facilities to attract more foreign investments, where the Foreign Capital Investment Law sets incentives and guarantees for the foreign investor, Including: allowing foreign ownership of projects up to 100%, exemption from the requirement of the minimum investor capital, the possibility of allocating lands and real estate which are necessary for the investment project by means of long-term leases, or by granting the right to use them.
The law also guarantees the right of the foreign investor to carry out all transfers related to the investment project into and outside the Sultanate of Oman, including transfers of profits, the proceeds from the sale or liquidation of all or some of the investment project. In order to stabilize foreign investments, the Foreign Capital Investment Law stipulated guarantees to assure the rights of existing investment projects in the Sultanate of Oman.
The investment toward the right direction:
Engineer Faris bin Mansour bin Dawood Al Nasser, a foreign investor, said: During the recent period, we witnessed many positive changes regarding the improving of the investment environment in the Sultanate of Oman, some of which were essential and necessary for advancing to a new stage that differs from the previous one, as the interest in the investor on the personal level is one of the most prominent aspect of the government’s change compass is the investor’s sense of citizenship and stability in his second country, the Sultanate of Oman, and the practice of his investments in accordance with the general system without complications.
He pointed out that, efforts to improve the business environment in the Sultanate of Oman are now proceeding toward the right and qualitative direction, as the keenness of the concerned authorities to listen to the investor personally and closely is one of the most important tools for development and treatment, and still we have a lot of work and development ahead of us.
A fundamental pillar in the context of integration:
Engineer Fares Al Nasser added: The opening of the"Invest Oman lounge" is an important qualitative leap and a fundamental pillar in the context of complementarity in the provision of services and governance.
He stressed that, this hall will contribute to simplifying procedures in completing transactions, and all of this is accomplished in one place and within a specific record time that shortens the effort. It saves time of the investor.
Al Nasser clarified that, enhancing competitiveness is determined by the criterion of (value) provided, while the digital transformation is the procedures implemented by the corporation to integrate digital technology in all business areas, which lead to a radical change in how the corporation presents (value) to customers.
He stressed that, the digital transformation is based on the work system in the Sultanate of Oman witnessed a remarkable development in increasing productivity, improving customer experience and reducing operational costs, which contributed to providing good value that undoubtedly placed the Sultanate of Oman in the field of global competitiveness.
Great efforts attracting foreign investment
Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Dhahli, an Omani businessman, said: There is no doubt that the efforts made by the government of the Sultanate of Oman represented by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion have witnessed growth and encouragement for foreign investment, in particularly in modernizing legislation and laws and facilitating procedures of interest to the investor in addition to the governance laws that protect the rights of the investor, however, it is very important that these laws and legislation, especially with regard to government fees and taxes, are long-term and not subject to continuous change so as not to conflict with the economic feasibility study on which the investor built the basis of his project and its economic feasibility.
Abdullah Al-Dhuhli stressed that, developing the business environment, creating a suitable climate for it, and providing an encouraging incentive package will contribute to the establishing of many development projects in various fields, whether from entrepreneurs in the Sultanate of Oman or investors from outside of the country, which will also contribute to increase the domestic product and increasing the in- country value added.
A quantum leap and a stimulus for investment
Al-Dhuhli added: The opening of the Invest Oman loungeis considered as a qualitative leap that stimulates investment and investors, as it shortens a lot of time and trouble for the investor and pours into facilitating and simplifying the procedures that the investor always seeks through the complementarity of the roles of the relevant government agencies in one stop.
He pointed out that, digital transformation is considered as one of the most important pillars of interest to the investor, and it is the first to be sought by the continuous in the investment environment, as it contributes to the smooth work environment, while the digital transformation enhances the global competitive position of the Sultanate of Oman.
Abdullah bin Ahmed Al-Dhuhli stressed that the automatic licenses provided by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion contributes effectively to the speedy completion of licenses in record time, which is in line with the general trend demanded by entrepreneurs and investors alike.
He added that , the investor is always looking for stability, especially social and psychological stability, so granting an investor residence card is of great importance to the investor, as it contributes to creating a comfortable work environment for him and his family and achieves one of the investment factors.
The Sultanate of Oman is one of the most attractive countries for investments:
ElieRizk, head of the Lebanese Gulf Economic Relations Development Authority, pointed out that the Sultanate of Oman today is considered one of the most important countries that attract investments due to its geographical location, the safety, stability and good relations it enjoys with all countries of the world.
He stressed that the facilities and incentives provided by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and investment promotion are attractive factors for investment in all productive and service sectors.
An important role in facilitating business
ElieRizk also said: The opening of the Invest Oman Lounge, will play an important and fundamental role in facilitating the investors' business and speeding up the completion of their transactions, especially with regard to transactions that require more than one government authority to complete them all under one roof. He stressed that digital transformation has become an urgent and necessary need for any country that would like to be among the developed and advanced countries, while there are great opportunities if they are well exploited since the investor is looking for safe, stable and developed markets. He stressed that the Sultanate of Oman enjoys all these specifications and elements that have become necessary and essential for digital transformation.
ElieRizk emphasized that the investor residency card granted by the Sultanate of Oman to foreign investors gave serious investors more reassurance and stability, while this program offers incentives that contributed to increasing the numbers of those who are interested to utilize the investor program.