As we start the new year 2021, I have no idea what the big events of this year will be. I won’t recount the last year here, because you know it all too well.
Just like any other person, I feel we can begin this new year with active hope that rides on the lessons learnt from the past year as well as leveraging on the best leadership that Oman enjoys even in difficult times.
When I say active hope, I mean we should all wake up to the beauty of life that our country offers us and we should all play our part to rebuild what we lost in 2020.
We should all be thankful to what our government has done to contain the 2020 situation. We shared a lot together last year, and together we can do a lot more as we move forward.
Even as the year was marred by the pandemic, new approaches through innovations have emerged presenting greater opportunities to bring us back on track.
With several vaccines on the horizon, we are hopeful of a new beginning in 2021, with stability in health and economy.
To kick-start the new year, His Majesty Sultan Haitham issued the first Royal Decree of the year approving the Tenth Five-year Development Plan which is the first executive plan for the Oman Vision 2040, guided by his generous care.
The plan seeks to stimulate economic activity, develop the macroeconomic environment, raise the efficiency of public financial management, achieve a balance between measures to control and rationalise public spending, and adopt broad, disciplined financial policies that achieve sustainable growth rates.
The plan focuses on mechanisms for economic diversification and increasing the contribution of non-oil sectors and activities.
This is not all. At the behest of His Majesty Sultan Haitham, the Ministry of Finance last week announced a set of incentives to be offered to citizens and the private sector during 2021.
The incentives include loans from Oman Housing Bank, with the annual sum designated for borrowing during 2021 to be increased to RO100mn, from RO60mn in the bank’s budget in the same year. The step will shorten citizens’ wait for their turn in obtaining housing loans.
Also, as part of the incentives, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning will help prepare for the distribution of 23,000 land plots in different governorates and wilayats of the sultanate.
So my fellow citizens, this is another active hope.
As far as boosting business in this new year is concerned, there are incentives that will exempt borrowers of Oman Development Bank and the Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises from loan interests for one year (2021). This means as many as 32,104 establishments and firms will get a lump sum waiver worth over RO10.9mn.
It is a measure aimed to alleviate the financial burdens of small and medium enterprises and firms that take loans.
This is in addition to exempting citizen-owned SMEs, who register from January 1, 2021, from all licence fees, provided the said SMEs are run by their owners.
Further more, the incentives include reduction of lease contract fees from five per cent to three per to encourage the registration of tenancy contracts and safeguard the rights of both tenants and landlords.
With all of these, we should all be so hopeful that we are leaving the worst behind and be assured that the best is the way.
Happy New Year to all our readers!
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