Muscat: A draft law to protect competition and prevent monopolies in the Sultanate has been finalised and referred to the Council of Oman, the Council of Ministers confirmed, on Monday.
In a wide-ranging statement on a variety of tracks of development for Oman, the Council of Ministers said it was working, "within the continuous keenness and interest accorded by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said towards pushing the wheel of development in the country to cover all of the economic, social, cultural and legislative areas."
The Council of Ministers has tasked the "competent authorities to consider the proposal to establish a centre for competition and prevention of monopoly in all its aspects for regulatory follow-up provisions in this area."
The Council of Ministers has also mandated the Capital Market Authority (CMA) to prepare a fund to assist people injured in hit-and-run accidents.
The Council has also approved a number of measures designed to protect the Sultanate from any "radiological emergencies".
Council reviews progress
The Council of Ministers on Monday issued a statement about the outcomes of its meetings since March 2014, which are relevant to tracks of development and following up the implementation of decisions relating to basic requirements of the society within the continuous keenness and interest accorded by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said towards pushing the wheel of development in the country to cover all of the economic, social, cultural and legislative areas.
The Council on Monday issued a statement enumerating the outcome of its meetings since March this year, explaining how these were relevant to development and helped track and implement certain key decisions.
All these efforts under the aegis of His Majesty, are aimed at ensuring progress in the country in all areas, such as economic, social, cultural and legislative. The statement reads as follows:
"As part of the continuous keenness and interest accorded by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said towards ensuring development and progress in the country to cover all economic, social, cultural and legislative areas, the Council of Ministers discussed since March 2014 a number of matters related to various tracks of development, in addition to following up on the implementation of the decisions relating to basic requirements of society.
In the light of the Royal blessing of His Majesty the Sultan to prepare the Oman Encyclopedia as a knowledge project for the generations, the Council of Ministers commended the accomplishment of this national work, which documents the rich Omani experience in various fields through the ages and will help preserve the historical identity of Oman. The Council expressed its appreciation for the efforts exerted by the Main Committee and everyone else who contributed towards completing this project.
In line with the developments in the economic arena and in an effort to attract more investment to improve the development zones in the country, especially the industrial ones, to continue to create an environment suitable for all business activities, to localise the national investment and to create employment opportunities commensurate with the increasing growth in population, the Council of Ministers was briefed on the draft system for the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) and assigned the Economic Committee of the Council to follow up on this issue in all its aspects, most importantly the incentives and facilities to investors.
In keeping with the economic transformation and opening of markets and related mechanisms to create a competitive economic environment based on competence in accordance with sound and fair rules and mechanisms to assist Omani economy to catch up with the world economy, the Council of Ministers finalised a draft law on protection of competition and prevention of monopoly and referred it to the Council of Oman. The Council tasked the competent authorities with considering the proposal to establish a centre for competition and to prevent monopoly for regulatory follow-up provisions in this area.
Within the context of following up on programmes and projects promoting food security for citizens in different economic sectors, the Council of Ministers was briefed on the executive position on major achievements of projects related to food security for 2013 and fishery sector development plan (2013-2020). The Council of Ministers reviewed the report of the activities of the Research Council (TRC) for 2013, as well as the activities and achievements of the Public Authority of Consumer Protection (PACP) during the second half of 2013.
In an investment for technical development in engineering, and in line with the urban and civilian expansion in the Sultanate, the Council of Ministers reviewed the means to encourage and protect the consultant engineering offices in the Sultanate. The Council drafted a law regulating the work of those offices and submitting it to the Council of Oman. In order to meet the requirements of official statistics and documented information for use in policy development, the Council of Ministers approved the draft regulations regarding the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
In an effort to preserve state lands for coming generations, the Council of Ministers was briefed on the progress of work in the preparation of the National Strategy for Urban Planning, supervised by the Higher Council for Planning, whose goals include the sustainability of economic growth, diversification of income sources, the protection of natural environment and other targets.
The Council of Ministers studied the impact of illegal land holdings on the urban and development planning and regarding use of land in accordance with designated purposes.
In order to provide insurance cover to people affected in road accidents in which the vehicle involved remains unidentified, and taking into account the special circumstances, the Council of Ministers mandated the Capital Market Authority (CMA) to prepare for the establishment of a fund to assist the people injured in such accidents and other related rules.
In order to strengthen the capacity of the Sultanate in the field of preparedness and response to radiological emergencies in accordance with the IAEA standards, the Council of Ministers adopted decisions of the Steering Committee of Peaceful Nuclear Technology including a review of laws and regulations, the infrastructure requirements of the national nuclear emergency plan and the establishment of a national symposium to prepare for and respond to all radiation emergency, in addition to the allocation of graduate grants and scholarships regarding nuclear radiation safety, activation of air radiation monitoring network and a network to monitor levels of such radiation in soil and water.
In order to understand the importance of disseminating a culture of human rights and increase awareness of such a culture, the Council of Ministers reviewed the report of the National Commission of Human Rights (NCHR) regarding such programmes and an education plan carried out by the Commission in 2013, the Council of Ministers approved the plans submitted to it for awareness and education for 2014.
In an effort to enhance cooperation with brotherly and friendly states in the field of higher education and student exchanges to achieve mutual interests and set a firm foundation in this regard, the Council of Ministers approved to renew a programme involving Omani cultural and scientific cooperation until 2019. On the other hand, the Council approved the Sultanate's hosting of the meeting of the World Academy of Sciences, as well as the Arab Symposium on policies dealing with disability issues in the Arab States. In the context of strengthening cultural cooperation with the countries of the world, the Council of Ministers agreed to establish a mobile exhibition about the Omani culture in Brazil. The Council also approved the holding of an international conference in the Republic of Burundi about Islamic civilization and culture and the Omani role in the Great Lakes countries.