Oman


Majlis Al Shura plans to impose curbs on trade, intake of alcohol in Oman


Illustrative purpose only

Muscat: Plans are afoot to impose new restrictions on the trade as well as consumption of alcohol in Oman.
Members of the Majlis Al Shura are planning a vote on the issue on June 22 to bring in stricter rules regarding the sale and availability of alcohol. If passed, the proposal will be referred to the Council of Ministers.

A Majlis Al Shura member said, "We will work towards formulating a law that will advocate more restrictions. We feel the easy going attitude towards the consumption and sale of alcohol is not doing any good." The move by Majlis Al Shura's members follows frequent calls from the nationals to ban alcohol in Oman.

"Many citizens have approached us asking for restrictions on easy availability of alcohol. They feel there has been a huge social and health impact due to the consumption of alcohol."

Members are also likely to recommend a ban on alcohol in public places like bars and nightclubs. More restrictions are likely to be imposed on owners of liquor shops besides checks on new shops licenced to sell liquor.

The proposal, moved by the Legal Committee of Majlis Al Shura, will include the amendments mentioned in the Omani Penal Code articles regarding the trade and consumption of alcohol.

The members have plans to urge the authorities to keep a strict tab on the flourishing black market trade in alcohol.

"We will push for harsher penalties on those found selling alcohol in the black market," he said.

It is important to note that according to the latest ROP figures, drinking while driving resulted in 167 road accidents that left 15 dead and many injured.

It is also important to remember that an amount of OMR45 million is being spent annually by the government on an average to treat alcohol related diseases.

Official figures reveal that there has been a four per cent rise in the number of such patients since 2010.

Some of the Majlis Al Shura members who want a complete ban on alcohol in the country are calling for changes in the penal code articles and have urged to criminalise the trade and consumption of alcohol in Oman.

He  said efforts must be made to make the availability of alcohol very difficult.

"Many families have faced the brunt of having an alcoholic in the family. Therefore, it is in the interest of families that alcohol laws become stricter in the country," he said.

He also feels once the laws come into effect, youngsters will not be exposed to alcohol.

About whether it will have an impact on tourism, the Majlis Al Shura member feels that "there will not be any significant impact on tourism because tourists mainly come to experience the country."

Doctors in Oman have also been urging the government to start a campaign to combat alcoholism before the problem gets out of control.

It may be recalled that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have completely banned the sale and consumption of alcohol.

To get in touch with the reporter: fahad@timesofoman.com

Share 

 Rate this Article
Rates : 17, Average : 3.06

Share more.

Post a Comment

Did you like this section? Leave a comment!
Your Name : Your Email Address :
Your Comment :
Enter Image Text:
 

Reader Comments




Oman needs rehabilitation centers for alcohol and drug detox, available to Omani adults and somehow set up to maintain privacy as there is a huge stigma with drinking and drugs, let alone alcoholism and addiction.

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a disease. Addicts need to be treated both physically and psychologically. And the shame involved, in any culture, but especially so in Oman, is a huge obstacle.

I think many people who drink or use drugs dont really understand what binge drinking is, nor the harm they cause their families when they are addicted, nor the health problems they risk due to alcohol and drug abuse.

Pretending it doesnt exist or banning alcohol completely are not solutions.

If Oman is truly concerned with this terrible problem, it needs to tackle the problem head on. That means helping people who have addictions.

Bringing awareness to the problems related to alcohol and drugs is the first step. It needs to be talked about, even though I know that is complete anathema.
You cant stop addictions by banning the substance because addicts will manage to get it, whether alcohol, heroin or whatever. Thats what addiction means.

Banning alcohol is a terrible idea, as it will certainly negatively impact Omans tourism, make many valuable expats leave, and those Omanis with addictions will then be criminals, their shame tripled, and their options even more limited.
Its a situation that will create more misery, among the people who you presumably want to help: Omanis with alcohol and drug problems.
Why do that?





Oman needs rehabilitation centers for alcohol and drug detox, available to Omani adults and somehow set up to maintain privacy as there is a huge stigma with drinking and drugs, let alone alcoholism and addiction.
Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a disease. Addicts need to be treated both physically and psychologically. And the shame involved, in any culture, but especially so in Oman, is a huge obstacle.
I think many people who drink or use drugs dont really understand what binge drinking is, nor the harm they cause their families when they are addicted, nor the health problems they risk due to alcohol and drug abuse.
Pretending it doesnt exist or banning alcohol completely are not solutions.
If Oman is truly concerned with this terrible problem, it needs to tackle the problem head on. That means helping people who have addictions.
Bringing awareness to the problems related to alcohol and drugs is the first step. It needs to be talked about, even though I know that is complete anathema.
You cant stop addictions by banning the substance because addicts will manage to get it, whether alcohol, heroin or whatever. Thats what addiction means.
Banning alcohol is a terrible idea, as it will certainly negatively impact Omans tourism, make many valuable expats leave, and those Omanis with addictions will then also be criminals, their shame tripled, and their options even more limited.
Its a situation that will create more misery, among the people who you presumably want to help: Omanis with alcohol and drug problems.
Why do that?






Yes, I do understand that consumption of alcohol leads to accidents, family problems but the person who is using should know the limit. anything in life if you cross your limit there is definitely a bad impact. Where as Oman is such a wonderful country and open as compare to all the Middle East. Banning alcohol can create a lot of problems example definitely it will affect Tourism and the expats working here as they feel free country as their country they will definitely will be affected 60% of expats will leave the country as they dont feel freedom like how Oman is until now.Yes you can make a restriction but totally banning it will make it worst. Dont think for today think for future.




Very sad news, this is not going to solve anything, it will only encourage illegal importation of Alchohol....
The UK banned firearms ownership, criminals still own and use firearms......





If the ban is to be enforced because of alcohol related accidents, then there should be stricter rules for DUI, maybe more check points and harsher punishments. Also improvement of public transport thats safer for women to use at night. Its not the fault of the alcohol, its the fault of the imbecile consuming it!




If the ban is to be enforced because of alcohol related accidents, then there should be stricter rules for DUI maybe more check points and harsher punishments. Also improvement of public transport thats safer for women to use at night. Its not the fault of the alcohol, its the fault of the imbecile consuming it!




It seems that Oman with its latest restrictions and regulations wants to go backwards. As I am constantly reminded....it is their Country....we can only advise and comment.




Nice news. Expats working like a slave, without control, non-humanities, solved. most expensive food in Muscat, solved. Company qualities, solved. Health service qualities, solved. Traffic, solved. Public transportation, solved. Telecommunications, solved. Grabbing, theft, solved. sexual crimes, solved. Only Alcohol is a big problem. Will be banned and everybody happy. Congratulations.




This is another move pushed by Shura Council which is not thought through thoroughly!

I understand that the Shura members are concerned about the safety and well-being of their own, but taking and enforcing such a decision will reflect on Oman as whole very negatively. You can see how some youngsters are already frustrated in here, how they seek justification for their existence and passing time through driving around all day, playing football 4-5 times a week, sitting almost everywhere till late hours, riding bikes...etc. Had there been truly a scare for their well being through banning alcohol, it will push them to be extreme in all other areas. Complete prohibition is a very dangerous weapon which will definitely back fire in this case. Plus the ROP stats of 167 road accidents and the medical budget spent on treating alcohol related diseases should provide further details of Age groups? Ethnicity? Nationality? Religion?...etc. My bet goes that more than 90% of these are for the locals while 10% is expats. So if the problem is local, start looking at better education, better motivation to be more productive, better regulation...etc. Change the paradigm and attitude towards the issue rather than block it all together.

If the problem is affecting your nation dont ban it from all, find better ways to control and regulate. Oman is a peaceful and beautiful country dont ruin it please.

The old saying goes: The prohibited is the most wanted! or simpler: forbidden fruit!





I dont know why all this fuss about ban on alcohol. Nobody is forcing anybody to have drinks. People in this country take a limited amount of alcohol that too over the weekends. And those people hold the liquor license mind you. The problem with the country is that they try to make it hard for expatriates in each and everything. They should know that the country is developing because of the efforts and hard work of the foreign workers not because of their locals. I think they should provide some freedom to the expatriates otherwise it will be in no time that this country will be left only with their locals. To be honest this country is not a tourist spot and banning of alcohol will end the tourism business which merely exists. So there have to be rules on purchase and consumption of alcohol but definitely not a ban. I hope the message reaches to the concern people.




Sooooo. You change the revenue predictions of 5 star hotels.. no more 5 star hotels in a few years (no more investment in an uncertain tourism future at least). Reduced tourists. Less freedom or tourists (the ones that like to have options) = more time in UAE and reduced time in Oman (see the sights and go - not stay and relax). More local restrictions equals less attractive place for expat workers. So less quality workers, or higher wages to be paid (like in Saudi). Alcohol goes underground, alcohol quality goes down.. more health problems (and zero income of the government). People brew their own (as in Saudi), higher corruption and bribery.

The UK tried higher taxing - doesnt work. People who want to drink still drink the same. USA had prohibition - didnt work, mafia took over and supply was the same.





The move is excellent one as I have personally observed that there is a lot of risk of accidents on the road due to drunken taxi drivers, youngsters moving on the road with bottles in hand showing as if it is a great culture of Oman. On the contrary it is matter of shame for them. Many people dying injuring and getting permanently disabled due to drinking has become common.




Back in the mid 80´s there were strict ROP Licensing Rules so that Management Level Staff could obtain it for home use/entertaining and that system seemed to work quite well. If you became a Member of the Intercons Pub you could drink there too with their Residents but even then there were signs that the Manager was having difficulty refusing others! We could also get a drink in one of the controlled MOD Messes but of course others could not enter the Camps. In all, at that time there were not too many problems but of course the World moves on. Now it will be difficult and unrealistic to stop and dangerous to drive it underground. There is now a thriving Tourist Industry and for sure it is the tops!




I think alcohol supply to only non muslims. Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol but they are drinking. After drinking they d,nt have control on their minds and abusing to others. Accident s are also due to this. So only small quantity should be allowed to drink non muslims.




The biggest concerns should be the creation of a black market, the bootlegging of inferior quality products, and the criminalization of secular activities. What happened to "live and let live"?


12