Call for re­forms

Times of Oman - - OMAN -

But the re­port did carry a warning for Oman. “Over­all, the coun­try can rely on strong in­sti­tu­tions and in­fra­struc­ture, how­ever, it needs to con­tinue ef­forts to up­grade ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing sys­tems and fun­da­men­tally re­form the labour mar­kets,” it added.

The mainly pos­i­tive re­port has been wel­comed by eco­nomic an­a­lysts and ex­perts in the coun­try.

“Oman is also con­sid­ered to be among the top 10 fastest grow­ing des­ti­na­tions be­tween 2016 and 2026 for leisure travel spend­ing,” said Dr. An­chan CK, an in­vest­ment ad­vi­sor based in Oman. “This is be­cause it has been ranked one of the safest coun­tries in the world.”

“In­ter­na­tional re­serves re­main rel­a­tively com­fort­able, and pri­vate sec­tor credit growth is healthy, aid­ing con­sump­tion and in­vest­ment,” he added.

“While hy­dro­car­bon pro­duc­tion will be in­creased by the Khaz­zan-Makarem gas field, which could come on­line, there will be ex­pan­sion of 1.1 per cent for 2017 and 2.5 per cent for 2018.

“The score im­proves across the pil­lars of in­sti­tu­tions, in­fra­struc­ture, mi­croe­co­nomic en­vi­ron­ment, health and pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion, re­flect­ing re­cent pub­lic in­vest­ments in these ar­eas,” said An­chan.

Oman’s Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (OCCI) was also ea­ger to shed light on the coun­try’s global rank­ing.

“It is very good to see the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum rank­ing us high in things like in­vest­ment, though we have to still im­prove a lot in this,” said Ahmed Al Hooti, a mem­ber of OCCI. “Our reg­u­la­tions for labour laws, such as in­creased fees for ex­pat em­ploy­ees need to im­prove. We hope to have this done so we can be a more at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for in­vest­ments.” “We have to be aware of run­ning and do­ing busi­ness and have more reg­u­la­tions so it does not hurt or dis­cour­age in­vest­ment in the coun­try,” he ex­plained.

“There are coun­tries in this re­gion com­pet­ing to open their economies to in­vest­ment and if we are to in­crease our tax­a­tion or fee for things like ex­pat work­ers, they will be more at­trac­tive than us. We can’t af­ford to have that.”

Mo­hammed Nayaz, part­ner at EY Oman added, “The di­rec­tion in which the econ­omy is go­ing is great and shows the strong in­sti­tu­tions, but the pace and de­ci­sion mak­ing is the thing that needs to im­prove. I think over­all the econ­omy is in a good place and with lit­tle more improvements it will be per­fect.”

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