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FDI law enters final stage

 Staff Reporter

MUSCAT

A comprehensive regulatory framework to attract foreign direct investment to the Sultanate is inching closer to reality, a top official has said.

The new regulation, which is receiving the finishing touches, is expected to encourage foreign fund inflow and expedite the government’s diversification efforts.

A draft of the ‘Foreign Capital Investment Law’ was with the Ministry of Legal Affairs where its provisions were getting examined, said Undersecretary at Ministry of Commerce and Industry HE Ahmed Bin Hassan Al Dheeb on Wednesday.

Al Dheeb, who was speaking on the sidelines of the Oman-India Business Connect Forum said, “The foreign investment law has been finalised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and sent to the Ministry of Legal Affairs for refinement and then it will be sent to the Council of Ministers.”

The law drafted with the objective of attracting foreign investment was made to satisfy the requirements of international businesses and prepared in cooperation with the World Bank and would be akin to any other such law, he added.

The law is likely to allow 100 per cent foreign investment in various sectors, remove minimum capital requirement, clarify rights and duties of investors and make provision for dispute resolution including international arbitration.

Al Dheeb said the new mining law was also getting reviewed by the Council of Ministers. It would have to go through all the procedures including the Council of Oman, he added.

The new mining law is expected to help attract investment into the sector by make simpler procedures for obtaining licences and help develop local communities.

Al Dheeb said Indian businesses already had a significant presence in Oman and the Sultanate was looking forward to greater participation from Indian companies in Oman’s economic diversification. He said the country’s free zones, industrial estates, ports, airports, and nearness to India would help strengthen ties between the two countries and would lead to greater volumes in trade and investment in manufacturing in both economies. He said forums that connect Indian and Omani businesses would lead to ventures that bring in technology and utilise raw materials available in Oman.

Al Dheeb said natural gas would be made available for industries in Duqm.

It was recently reported that Oman Gas Company would make gas available to Duqm special economic zone by 2019.

First gas from Phase 1 of Khazzan field in Block 61 was expected by September this year and production will go up to 500 million cubic feet a day within three months.

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