Oman to enact labour, taxation and subsidy reforms, says minister

DUBAI (Reuters) – Oman plans to amend labour laws, introduce new taxation and end some “long-standing” subsidies while ensuring that low-income families are protected, the Gulf Arab state’s foreign minister said on Saturday.

Sayyed Badr Al Busaidi told the IISS Manama Dialogue summit in Bahrain that significant changes to labour policy would include abolishing a requirement that expatriate workers need permission to transfer to a new employer, which is known as the no-objection certificate system.

Low oil prices and the economic slowdown caused by the new coronavirus outbreak are straining the finances of Oman, a relatively small energy producer with debt rated “junk” by all the major rating agencies.

New ruler Sultan has shaken up the government and state entities, and this week approved introducing value-added-tax in April in a sign to investors – ahead of an international bond sale – that he is open to reforms in a country that saw Arab Spring-like protests in 2011.

Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Gareth Jones and Ros Russell

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