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Team formed to curb ‘hidden trade’ activities

20 Oct 2020 By MOHAMMED TAHA

H E Qais bin Mohammed al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, has issued Ministerial Decision No (183/2020) to form a team to look into the practice of multiple commercial registrations and reduce the phenomenon of ‘hidden trade’.

The team will be headed by H E Dr Saleh bin Said Masan, Undersecretary for Commerce and Industry in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, and include members of a number of competent authorities such as Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Interior, Royal Oman Police, Ministry of Labour, Muscat Municipality, Dhofar Municipality, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Riyada.

The team will review the mechanism of multiple commercial registrations and ensure that private establishments continue to conduct business legally and companies are committed to decisions on  provision of adequate housing for expatriate workers. 

The team will also propose appropriate solutions to curb the practice of hidden trade and follow up on its implementation. Among other things, also called ‘free visa’ earlier, the practice involves registering multiple companies with employees who are brought into the country. Such employees don’t work for the registered company but instead pay the owners a monthly fee.

The team will also hold meetings with the private sector and authorities to discuss their proposals to limit multiple commercial registrations, and ensure that companies adhere to the Omanisation rates.

Following the ministerial decision, there was a flurry of activity on social media. 

“This is an excellent decision and companies must adhere to the Omanisation rates,” Sultan bin Majid al Abri tweeted. 

Another Twitter user commented, “It is necessary to activate inspection patrols for commercial activities to monitor business owners and their obligation to the rights of their workers in terms of wages and housing.”

Nabil al Riyami said, “It is an excellent decision and we hope to see real results.”

As per Azad al Omari, it was a “beautiful decision at the right time”.



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