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H M chairs meeting of Council of Ministers; RO70mn approved for housing assistance

28 May 2024 H M chairs meeting of Council of Ministers; RO70mn approved for housing assistance

Muscat – His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik presided over a meeting of the Council of Ministers at Al Barakah Palace on Tuesday.

At the outset of the meeting, His Majesty the Sultan gave thanks and praise to the Almighty Allah for the bounties with which He endowed Oman, its noble people and all those residing on its land.

His Majesty the Sultan prayed to Allah the Almighty to bestow His riches on all and to grant all good health, wellbeing and prosperity.

Then, His Majesty the Sultan reviewed domestic conditions. On the economic aspect, the Council of Ministers approved the closing account of fiscal year 2023, which indicated an improvement in the financial standing and a decline in the volume of its public debt – leading to improved credit rating of the Sultanate of Oman. His Majesty commended all the efforts made in this respect.

Pursuant to the Council of Oman’s keenness to develop the capital market sector, activate its role as a funding option, enhance the contribution of commercial companies to the local economy and to augment the market value of Muscat Stock Exchange and to increase the number of companies listed therein, His Majesty the Sultan issued Royal Directives to launch an incentive programme that comprises a number of initiatives to convert companies interested in the aforementioned programme into joint stock companies and list them in stock markets.

The Royal Directives also provide for the establishment of a secondary market at Muscat Stock Exchange, to be named ‘Promising Companies Market’, that targets private firms, family companies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups.

The Royal Directives also point to the launch of an initiative to convert limited liability companies into closed companies, notably by offering a package of incentives to the aforementioned companies.

Due to the importance of the industrial sector, being one of major economic diversification sectors and a propeller of Oman Vision 2040 and to establish a culture of industrial innovation in Oman, the Council of Ministers approved the ‘Industrial Strategy 2040’ aimed at accelerating economic diversification, improving the standard of Omani industrial products and establishing a modern technology-based infrastructure for converting industries.

His Majesty the Sultan supported all efforts made by government departments that participated in devising the aforementioned strategy.

In affirmation of the attention accorded by His Majesty to the social aspect, notably through the priorities set by the government to develop the endowment (Waqf) system in the sultanate and its contribution to consolidating principles of collaboration and compassion among members of society, to introduce a new vision for endowments and ensure the sustainability of endowment funds and prepare them for investment, His Majesty the Sultan issued directives to establish ‘Oman Endowment Foundation’.

This foundation will be mandated to invest endowment funds and funds from Bait Al Mal (House of Funds). The new foundation will be set up in accordance with the best practices in this field. The foundation will be provided by persons of expertise in the fields of investment and financial management, both from the public and private sectors.

Pursuant to the government’s continuous quest to develop norms for a dignified life and to provide decent residences for citizens in a manner that tallies the development plans, the Council of Ministers approved the addition of RO70mn to boost the residential assistance programme at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning for the years 2024 and 2025.

Part of the fund will be dedicated to purchasing readymade residences for those entitled in modern projects. This is made within the context of the national initiatives for neighbourhoods that is overseen by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning.

Following the continuous Royal attention to education and action to address the livelihood challenges posed to some students on scholarships at private higher education institutions, His Majesty the Sultan issued directives to the departments concerned to dedicate monthly allocations, with effect from next academic year, to entitled students on domestic scholarships at private higher education institutions, in accordance with the measures endorsed by the National Subsidy System Committee.

In his review of regional and international issues, His Majesty the Sultan referred to the conditions in the region and the ongoing unjust war in the Gaza Strip. He also spoke about bilateral relations with Arab and friendly countries and about the outcome of recent visits and meetings with Arab countries.

In this context, His Majesty the Sultan affirmed the keenness of the Sultanate of Oman to strengthen its relations with all Arab and friendly countries and to upgrade cooperation with them in a manner that serves common interests among the peoples.

At the conclusion, His Majesty the Sultan touched on various aspects of concern to the nation and citizens, and he issued Royal Directives to this effect.

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