As a relatively small oil-producing kingdom, Oman is one of the least populated Arab countries and has been ruled by hereditary leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said since 1970. Despite being an absolute monarchy for almost five decades, Oman held its first council elections in towns and cities in 2012 in a bid to decentralise authority and allow citizens to participate more in local governance following the Arab Spring demonstrations in 2011.
Scoring 88 out of 180 in the Index of Economic Freedom at the time of writing making the Islamic country ‘moderately free’, Oman is heavily reliant on what are now dwindling oil resources, which account for around four-fifths of the government’s revenue. But much is being done to counteract this dependency on oil, not least because the nation’s economy suffered in 2017 due to the decline in oil prices. One such measure was the National Program for Enhancing Economic Diversification (the Tanfeedh programme), which is a core component of Oman’s Ninth Five-Year Plan and aims to invest more in uplifting the revenue of the country’s tourism, mining and manufacturing sectors.
Any businessman or woman should look to educate themselves on Oman’s economy and business culture if they are to make a positive impression when entering the country’s commercial market. The World Business Culture website delves deeper than Oman’s surface to examine the country’s tax and accountancy laws in-depth, making it an ideal resource for any professional seeking to do business in Oman.
Foreign nationals wishing to enter Oman for work must have a work visa which can be obtained via an Omani sponsor or from the Immigration Department of the Royal Oman Police. It is also compulsory for all businesses to register with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and become members of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is important to consider the policy of “Omanization”, a government initiative designed to replace expatriate workers with trained Omani employees by setting quotas for different industries to reach in terms of the percentage of Omani workers in proportion to foreign workers. Companies that reach their government quota benefit from preferential treatment with their dealings with the government and attention in the media. The World Business Culture website can prepare any business or professional who has the goal of doing business in Oman by helping them understand which laws they would be expected to obey in the country and what taxes they would be required to pay.
Many actions have been taken to make doing business in Oman a more enticing prospect. For example, in a country where no personal income-tax exists, the Omani government has introduced large-scale changes to income tax law to stimulate the growth of small and medium-sized businesses, with a new lower rate of 3% on taxable income being applied to small taxpayers if they meet certain conditions. Non-Omani participation in the capital of a company is not allowed to exceed 70%, however, proposals to ease the restrictions on the equity holding of foreign investors in Omani companies have been suggested. The registration of companies has now been simplified and Free Zones have been established in Oman in locations where there are nearby port facilities to encourage foreign investors to invest in the exporting of goods produced locally.
This website will provide any professional or business looking to succeed in Oman’s promising commercial landscape with accurate information to help them enter and thrive in the Omani market.