The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) is urging people to adopt e-commerce for shopping, import and other activities as lots of electronic applications have already been made available for the purpose.
It said that the e-commerce and direct import played a major role in stimulating domestic and foreign trade. This has been carried out as part of the efforts made by the ministry as well as other concerned authorities in the Sultanate to deal with the situation arising due to the spread of COVID-19.
The use of e-commerce has become important as it helps to avoid crowded places and prevent transmission of the virus.
MoCI recently created a section for e-commerce in the Department of Commercial Affairs in the Directorate General of Trade to organize and develop the sector and keep up with the developments, methods and modern systems of sale and purchase done through electronic channels. The Ministry is also encouraging home business owners and small and medium enterprises to promote their products and use modern methods and technologies for marketing inside and outside the Sultanate. The section of e-commerce will make the business through e-commerce easy, increase the reliability of its dealings and protect the rights of customers.
The Ministry, in cooperation with Al-Rafd Fund and the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development ‘Riyada’, has also launched ‘Shop from Your Home’. The initiative is aimed at using electronic applications to shop from stores, restaurants and cafes, and prevent transmission of the virus. There are also several Omani companies working in the area of order delivery. They deliver and provide various commodities and services at home through their electronic applications.
Mubarak bin Mohammad al Dohani, director general of trade in MoCI, said that e-commerce and direct import play a major role in stimulation of the domestic and foreign trade. “The strategic location of the Sultanate links it with global shipping lines. Also, there are a number of commercial ports in the Sultanate connected with other ports and world markets. They also have advanced logistic services which help in attracting investments to the Sultanate. This is the reason it has become a regional centre for direct import and export. The e-commerce and direct export help in diversification of what they offer in terms of quality, options and competitive prices.”
Dohani said that the ministry has approved a set of laws and legislations to facilitate e-commerce and open areas for local and global investments in the area. It has also set up an e-commerce section for follow up of the concerned areas and support business owners to opt for e-commerce. It is also providing all facilities to make procedures and services given to the businessmen and importers easy, particularly those related to permits and duties, speedy completion of transactions, coordination with the concerned authorities to reduce custom duties and freight fees and provide them best possibilities for direct imports from the country of origin.
Dr. Ahmad bin Abdul Karim Al-Houthi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Chamber’s Economic Committee, said, “E-commerce is the present and the future of the world as it is heading towards the fourth industrial revolution, for which e-commerce is essential to practice any type of commercial activities, whether they are inside or outside the Sultanate.”
The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been providing support to opt for e-commerce and direct import for a long time, in partnership with other stakeholders.