Oman’s development leap in 45th year of Renaissance

Oman today celebrates the 45th anniversary of the glorious Renaissance of July 23, which has resulted in an impressive leap forward in the life of the Sultanate and its people.

The occasion signals a new era as Oman has achieved progress and prosperity under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

Over the past 45 years, His Majesty has been very keen on making each Omani a contributor to the development, as well as its main aim and goal.

Therefore, Oman’s celebration of the blessed Renaissance is a celebration of the contribution of each Omani to the achievements made over the past period and the success in building a modern nation that has made positive contributions at the Gulf, Arab and world levels. The Omani man now enjoys respect in different parts of the world.

The uniqueness of the Omani leadership is that it has leveraged the potential of the Omanis and steered them towards building a modern Oman.

These achievements would not have been possible without proper planning and a leadership that dedicated its time and effort to the progress of this nation. The Omani leadership has been keen on ensuring equality among all Omanis and the rule of law. This was reflected in the Basic Law of the State promulgated on November 6, 1996, and its amendments.

The law highlighted the relationships among the different organisations, as well as their rights, responsibilities, duties and obligations. It also ensured harmony and integration between the Council of Ministers and the Council of Oman, which includes the State Council and Majlis Al Shura, in addition to the independence of judiciary. It also ensured going on the right track through the overview conducted by the State Financial and Administrative Audit Institution (SFAAI), the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP), besides other audit institutions.

The Omani march towards more socio-economic progress is still going on in all fields to make Oman, as it has been always, an oasis for peace and security, thanks to the wise policies of His Majesty over the past 45 years. This is very clear from the events witnessed by the region, which pose many current and future challenges.

The five year plans, from the first one (1976-1980) to the eighth one (2011-2015) managed to complete the infrastructure in different areas and in different parts of the Sultanate. This is manifested in the high quality road network, water, electricity, health and education, as well as higher education services.

The Omani Government, as guided by His Majesty, takes initiatives to develop the qualified and specialised human resources. It also develops curricula at the various schools and higher education institutions. The Education Council, the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and other institutions play an important role in this field. Work is also underway to complete the establishment of the world class Oman University.

Despite the decline in oil prices since last year, His Majesty gave instructions to maintain the levels of services provided to citizens especially in the sectors of health, education and social security without any prejudice to the work at the major tourism, road, port and airport projects, as well as major projects in the Special Economic Zone in Duqm (SEZD). The road network, railway and airport projects have made the Sultanate a logistical hub with great potential in the years to come.

After developing the main outlines of the 9th five-year plan (2016-2020), the Omani Government, represented by the Supreme Council for Planning (SCP) and the Main Committee for Oman Vision 2040, as well as other respective agencies, have already started preparing for the Vision 2040 as per the Royal Directives of His Majesty.

The symposium on the follow up of the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Seih Al Shamikhat Symposium has issued a number of decisions that promote the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and ensure getting the stipulated percentage of the public tenders and purchases.

Despite the decline in oil prices in the world markets, the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) issued a report about the financial stability in 2015. The report shows positive indicators about the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) in the Sultanate, which stood at 4.62 per cent in 2015, as compared to 2.95 per cent in 2014.

The CBO affirmed that the macro-economics of the Sultanate are comfortable especially with the continuation in the diversification of the sources of income, the low inflation rate, the good reserves of foreign currency and the stability of the macro-economic system of the Sultanate.

The Oman Housing Bank (OHB) raised its capital from OMR30 million to OMR100 million in a bid to ensure quick response to the applications for loans submitted to it. Moreover, with effect from July 1, 2015, the prices of 180 medicines were reduced in private sector pharmacies. This initiative was aimed at enhancing the health services and providing drugs free of cost at the public health institutions whether to Omanis or expatriates working at the administrative apparatus of the state.

To ensure good communication between the Council of Ministers and the Omani citizens about issues of interest for them, the Council issues statements regularly about the major issues it has discussed.

The statement by the Council of Ministers about the issues discussed in mid-June highlighted the development of the administrative system, conversion to e-government and constructive cooperation between the Council of Ministers and the Council of Oman. It also delegated the Supreme Council of Planning (SCP) with the task of revising the national strategy of the logistic sector in light of the vision for the Omani economy.

In April 2015, the Sultanate came second at the Arab level and 22nd at the world level, from among 158 countries covered by the third report about happiness in the world in 2015. The Sultanate was also ranked seventh at the world level in life quality indicator in 2015. These rankings are the fruits of the continuous efforts made to improve the standard of living of all Omanis and achieve further progress and prosperity.

The Ministry of Interior also continues its efforts to complete preparations for the Majlis Al Shura’s 8th term elections (2016-2019), which will conducted in October 2015. The registration period has been extended from July 2 to July 30, 2015, to ensure that more Omanis register and cast their votes. The final list of candidates for the Majlis Al Shura election has been also announced.

As for foreign policy, His Majesty affirmed the importance of international efforts to bring security, stability and peace to the region, as this will serve the common interest of all peoples.

The Sultanate has always affirmed it is against the different forms of violence and terrorism. It also stressed the need to ensure stability and security and reach peaceful solutions for the problems depending on good neighbourly relations, mutual respect and principles of co-operation.

It is thus not strange that the Sultanate has been a meeting point and has become the place of trust of all regional and international parties, thanks to the frank, true, credible policies and sincere desire to promote peace.

The Sultanate is constantly endeavouring to approximate viewpoints and reach reconciliations among disputing parties to achieve peace, security and welfare for countries of the region.