to political analysts, Sultan Qaboos’ medical troubles had alarmed the entire country. The Sultan is responsible for bringing much of the changes and wealth in Oman through his policies and extremely tolerant laws with sectarians in the country.
Political analysts said that since 1970, Qaboos seized power and Oman during the time was an isolated state with likelihood of Communism spreading about. Over his 44-year reign, he had changed Oman into a country that used its oil wealth to set a high standard of living with vibrant tourism.
Analysts feared that Qaboos’ possible death in the future will leave no children or designated heirs to continue his work. Sultan Qaboos is the only monarch in the world without a successor, which may leave Oman’s future in the balance. They warn of a possible succession crisis should Qaboos die.
They fear a power vacuum could introduce a struggle among other members of the royal family, the military and various sectarian parties, including the economic elite in the country.
Qaboos, already 73 years old, is undergoing medical examinations in Germany since July 10. Concerns that he may be terminally ill are increasing in likelihood. However, Oman’s government said that he is in good condition despite rumours that he might have a severe case of colon cancer.
Chairman of the National Bank of Oman Mohammed Mafoodh al-Ardhi had praised the efforts of the government for meeting the public and private sector demands and ensuring the growth of the government’s short and long-term goals. He also provides the government advice to improve its services.
Al-Ardhi noted that Oman’s ports are the symbol of the country’s increasing wealth. The ports of Salalah, Sohar and Muscat have been remodelled for modern ships and freighters.
Salalah is the world’s most active port for container transport. Sohar is specifically designed to ease goods shipment processes to areas outside of the Oman capital. The Port of Muscat is a tourist destination that also doubles as a supplementary port decongestion resource for possible circumstances.
Al-Ardhi also said that foreign investors are welcoming the Omani investment climate with its sufficient incentives. However, he said that despite the incentives, it will still not be enough to turn the investment system into higher competitiveness. Investors are looking for new locations to keep themselves safe from failing caital markets.
He recommends that several investor laws, including land utilisation, pollution law and banking, be revised. He also prompted the government to provide a single investment service centre to help expand the number of investors inside the country and distribute it to different business centres all at once.
Oman is focusing on developing its dilapidating railways and ports to become globally-competitive and further help increase the country’s income. Omani ports can be linked with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and will help integrate the transport system between these countries as an integrated system.
Transport and Communications Minister Doctor Ahmed Mohammed Salim al-Futaisi said that the focus of Oman’s train network will make the transport industry a crucial resource for Oman. Becoming the gateway for the GCC in terms of transporting goods and services, Oman’s profits could increase with better activity in the service industry.
Oman Air may also contribute to the services industry as it opens in the new Omani regional airport at Duqm. The airlines had promised four weekly flights.
Meanwhile, Savannah Resources Plc has acquired interests in the Block 5 and 6 of Oman’s copper projects. The mutli-commodity exploration and development company uses the acquisitions as part of its growth strategy for its own company, and Oman’s enrichment as well.
Copper mining may be the best next industry for Oman as copper supply in the world is increasingly disrupted by mining troubles, decreased investor interest and high costs for major copper-producing countries.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated in its World Economic Outlook that Oman’s economy in 2013 had dropped to a 2.8% growth in nominal terms in 2013. The IMF said that this is the slowest expansion the country had since 2009 as outputs from the oil industry had fallen behind.
In 2012, Oman’s economy had grown by 11.5%
According to observers, the slowing economy marks the challenges Oman’s government faces with regards to generating jobs for its growing population, which is now at 2.2 million. Despite progressing efficiently from 1970 as a modern economy, Oman’s deficits are caused by the lack of natural oil reserves.
The 1.4% drop in the oil sector, which accounts for 46% of Oman’s £75 billion economy, also played a great role in the slow growth of the economy.
Oman’s services sector is the largest contributor to the country’s GDP, but it had slowed down to 10.0 % from 15.1 % in 2012.
Analysts said that Oman’s real GDP growth should improve to 4.0% this year because of stable oil prices and the government’s investment on major profit-generating projects in the last two years.
The recent allegation of corruption and public protests that demanded jobs for its population had also hurt the reputation of the country. However, the country had also generated tens of thousands of new government jobs.
The Sultanate’s Representative to the UN and International Organizations in Geneva, Abdullah bin Nasser Al Rhabbi, stated that the Oman Sultanate has begun developing the National Strategy for Innovation and Intellectual Property. The project’s aim was to benefit and focus on developing the concepts of innovation and intellectual property in general education curricula. It will also provide adequate protection for the ideas and concepts that would sprout thereof.
The representative stated that he welcomes the support of developing countries to help build the drafting and preparation of the national strategies. He called on the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization to help the cause, especially in training and industrial applications.
Al Rhabbi pointed out that the Sultanate’s government intends to have the cooperation of the WIPO. Their MoU focuses on building capacities in the field of human resources development, added research and education in the field of Intellectual Property. The sultanate also thanks the WIPO and the Arab countries who remain supportive of their efforts to improve innovation and intellectual property in Oman.
The sultanate is scheduled to be represented in the Public Authority for Craft Industries and the World Crafts Council in India scheduled from Oct 7 to 10. Their participation comes with the initiative to protect the traditional craft industries of their country and promoting the mechanisms and education of the crafts. The initiative also comes to promote the skills of craftsmen and increase demand on the local Omani craft industry.
Source: Times of Oman
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