Oman: In a bid to enhance opportunities for Omani-owned SMEs, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Investment Promotion has recently revised the regulations governing foreign capital investments. The updated decision imposes restrictions on certain activities, reserving them exclusively for Omani investors.
The primary objective behind this move is to foster the growth of Omani-owned SMEs while preserving the national identity. The ministry has further emphasized its commitment to regularly updating the list of prohibited activities to align with evolving economic trends.
According to the ministry, the decision aims to strike a balance between attracting high-quality investments and promoting entrepreneurial projects. Moreover, the government is keen on empowering SMEs as a means to stimulate the economy.
Under Ministerial Decision No. 364/2023, the list of activities prohibited for foreign investment has been amended. Specifically, the activities listed under numbers 60 and 63 in Ministerial Decision No. 209/2020 have been removed from the list of prohibited activities, and their sequence has been adjusted accordingly.
Moreover, the revised decision opens doors for foreign investment in specialized rehabilitation centers and rehabilitation homes. Simultaneously, Article Two introduces additional activities to the list of prohibited activities, bringing the total count of restricted activities to 96, exclusively reserved for Omani investors.
The implementation of this decision will take effect from the day following its publication in the Official Gazette, as stipulated in Article Three. Notably, the new activities included in the list of prohibited investments cover various sectors, such as poultry hatcheries (except for projects with significant production capacity), beekeeping, marine fishing, printing services, and more.
Furthermore, the list encompasses the rental of construction machinery, livestock trading (excluding projects with substantial production capacity), fish and marine animal businesses, retail sales of meat and fish products, natural and medicinal herbs stores, as well as pet care services.
As the decision is published in the Gazette, any previous conflicting regulations are rendered void. The government remains steadfast in its commitment to promoting Oman’s economic growth while safeguarding the interests of its citizens. The list of prohibited activities for foreign investors, which previously included Omani sweets, traditional weapons, and various retail activities, has undergone significant revisions to accommodate the changing landscape of investment opportunities.