Oman is gearing up for reforms, including allowing full foreign ownership, to lure foreign investment and diversify its energy-led economy, Commerce and Trade Minister Maqboul bin Ali bin Sultan said Sunday.
He was quoted by the Gulf Daily News as saying that Oman, which joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) last year, would "allow 100 percent foreign ownership of some projects starting in 2003."
WTO membership will bring trade liberalization "which is a vehicle to attract quality foreign investments, expertise and technology to the benefit of the Omani economy," he said.
"Oman views globalization as a force for growth and prosperity, especially in telecommunications, finance and tourism," Sultan added.
According to the paper, Oman is banking on eight big projects to diversify away from oil and gas, which provided 80 percent of its income last year.
Sultan said the projects, including methanol and ferrochrome plants, would require 2.93 billion rials ($7.6 billion) in private investment.
Sultan said Oman, which has allowed up to 70 percent foreign ownership from January on some projects, was committed to extending the offer to 100 percent ownership to some sectors from 2003.
Salalah Free Trade Zone is expected to be successful, with special incentives on offer like 100 percent foreign ownership, no conditions regarding minimum capital requirements, and exemptions from the profit tax and import custom duty, he said - Albawaba.com