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Thursday, October 27, 2016

BRAVO: Oman GCC No.1 for starting biz!

Oman GCC No.1 for starting biz
  • Leaps to 32nd from 159th rank globally
By Vinod Nair — MUSCAT: Oct 26: 

Oman has improved its position in the annual Doing Business 2017 report of the World Bank. The country has been placed first in the GCC for ‘Starting a Business’, ahead of UAE (ranked 4), Bahrain (5), Qatar (6), Saudi Arabia (14) and Kuwait (20). It has moved to the 32nd position from 159th (up 127) globally.

 The strong showing comes at the back of the acceptance of the Invest Easy one-stop online window introduced last year. “Oman has made starting a business easier by removing the requirement to pay the minimum capital within three months of incorporation and streamlining the registration of employees,” the report said.

Globally, New Zealand edged out Singapore as the ‘easiest country for doing business’ in the latest rankings, while several emerging market countries improved their rankings by pursuing business-friendly reforms. The report cited reduction in labour-related taxes and new regulations that make paying taxes easier as key reasons why New Zealand moved to the top spot from its previous runner-up position. 

The Sultanate has been placed 66th in the worldwide list, with only UAE (26) and Bahrain (63) faring better among the GCC countries.
In the 2016 list, Oman was ranked 69. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s (MoCI) efforts to improve business environment are bearing fruit, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salem al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, tweeted.

Dr Salim Sultan al Ruzaiqi, CEO, Information Technology Authority (ITA), praised the Invest Easy one-stop online project of the government. “The Invest Easy initiative has been accepted by the private sector. This is one of the main initiatives of the government,” said a senior-most government official.

 He added that the new investment laws will be more flexible than the current one and will try to address most concerns of the private sector. While the progress has been quite obvious in the ‘Starting a Business’ category, Oman’s ratings dropped marginally in these categories: dealing with construction permits (-6), getting electricity (-6), registering property (-1), getting credit (-6), protecting minority investors (-6) and resolving insolvency (-2).

According to the report, for commercial registration, an entrepreneur can check the availability of the desired company name online. To register, an entrepreneur can submit a duly completed application form along with the documents at the one-stop shop of the MoCI.

 Upon submission of the required documents, the applicant receives a list of fees to be paid according to the specified capital of the company along with the application tracking number. Then, the applicant indicates his/her preference for notifying the status of the application: phone, SMS or email.

The following relevant public institutions are housed at the one-stop shop: Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Public Authority of Civil Defence and Ambulance, Royal Oman Police, Muscat Municipality, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs and the Ministry of Manpower.

 This ‘shop’ thus facilitates registration of the company with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. To register with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the applicant should submit a completed application form, along with the company statutes and pay the relevant fees depending on the grade of the company.

The company must then obtain licence from the Municipality of Muscat before commencing business operations and pay a fee of RO 15. The company needs to register with the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) at the time of incorporation, which can be done at its desk at the MoCI. The total procedure will take six days and may cost around RO 183 to start a Grade II company.

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