Muscat: The Majlis Al Shura yesterday hosted Dr Ali bin Mas'oud Al Sunaidi, the Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Prior to the minister's statement, the Chairman of the Majlis, Khalid bin Hilal Al Ma'awali, highlighted the main issues to be covered in the statement of the Minister of Commerce and Industry.
He said the Majlis would discuss and approve the other items that had been studied by the committees, including the two reports of the legislative and legal committee for providing title deeds to citizens.
The session will also approve the draft agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and to prohibit income-tax evasion between the Sultanate's government and the Government of Japan — referred by the government to the Majlis Al Shura.
The Majlis will also discuss approval of the draft agreement for the permanent headquarters of the fish-support unit, drawn up by Oman and members of the Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).
Dr Al Sunaidi delivered the annual statement of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, pointing out that the Omani economy had achieved good growth in 2011 and 2012. The GDP at current prices rose to OMR26,904 million in 2011, compared with OMR22,614 million in 2010 — a growth of 19 per cent.
He added that the National Centre for Statistics and Data had indicated that the growth rates had increased by more than 16 per cent by the end of June 2012, compared with the same period in 2011. He added that the International Monetary Fund considered the Sultanate to be one of the countries that had witnessed outstanding economic growth over the last four decades, at an average of 6.2 per cent per year, since 1970.
He noted that the wholesale and retail trade contributions to the GDP at current prices rose from OMR1,735 million in 2010 to OMR1,945 million in 2011, a growth of 12 per cent. The initial indicators point to similar growth rates in 2012.
He explained that the private sector is the basic engine for domestic trade—a sector that is dominated by family companies.
Foreign trade rose by 25.4 per cent in 2011, compared with 2010. Oil exports grew by 32.2 per cent between 2010 and 2011. Non-oil exports rose noticeably by 20.8 per cent in 2011, compared with 2010. The foreign trade balance surplus in 2011 amounted to OMR9,025 million, despite the fact that the value of imports had grown by 19.4 per cent in 2010.
The Sultanate has faced several issues with the EU and India with regard to exporting Omani petrochemical products. It has faced issues with the United States as well with regard to the export of steel pipes and with Ecuador and Pakistan with regard to the export of packing materials. The Sultanate addressed these issues after consulting an international law office and some private and public organisations.