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Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Sultanate of Oman has undertaken a major initiative to introduce a holistic approach to licensing of business activities and streamline the procedures how licensing is conducted. 

Constant work is being done to improve the ease of starting and doing business and to simplify the licensing process. The figure illustrates the aspects of the optimization process, ongoing between different government entities.

Explanatory Figure - representing Invest Easy Aspects of Optimization Process

Apects of Optimization Process


Important Definitions

License

It is an upfront legal authorization used to allow practicing a restricted business activity.

  • License is issued by Invest Easy after the final approval of the license owner entity.
  • Starting practicing the activity without getting the license is not allowed.


Approval 

It is an upfront legal authorization on a particular issue within the licensing process, used to allow approving giving license for practicing a restricted business activity.

  • License is issued by Invest Easy after the getting all approvals from the co-operating entities.
  • Starting practicing the activity without getting the approval is not allowed.


Notification

It is a legal notification sent to the related entities notifying them about giving license for practicing a restricted business activity.

  • License is issued by Invest Easy after sending notifications to all related entities.
  • Starting practicing the activity without sending the notification is not allowed.
  • Notifications help public authorities to collect information and support the government supervision of a particular economic sector at any time.

 

Permit

It is an upfront legal authorization to use certain restricted rights or privileges (e.g. Promotion Offers).

  • Permit is issued by Invest Easy.
  • Starting practicing the restricted rights and previliges without getting the permit is not allowed.


Areas that has a large public interest both on a public or a personal level  (best practices of countries globally)

The 9 Criteria used to identify the business activity need for license

No.

Public Interest Domain

Consideration for licensing

Example of activity

1

National security / Public security

  • ensuring appropriate handling and provision of high risk items and specialized services.
  • Prevention of criminal and/or terrorist activities.
  • Ensuring a secure supply of services in crucial utility sectors in case of crisis.
  • Production/handling of explosive, guns and ammunition.
  • Private security contractors.
  • Critical communications operations.
  • Oil and electricity operations.

2

Public policy / Public health

  • Avoiding genuine threat to any of the fundamental interests of a society.
  • Ensuring that the provision of products/services to the public involving high personal risk and info asymmetry is reliable and of good quality.
  • Medical services and pharmacy to patients.
  • Production of certain food categories.
  • Value based arguments (gambling).

3

Public safety / Traffic safety

  • Ensuring an adequate and low risk living environment.
  • Industrial activities with potential high impact physical harm to third persons and/or property:
    • Chemicals.
    • Public transport services.

4

Environmental safety

  • Ensuring sustainable and sound management of environmental resources, avoiding pollution.
  • Large scale industrial activities involving hazardous substances, residual pollution or handling of scarce environmental resources.

5

Animal welfare / Veterinary policy

  • Providing for appropriate treatment of animals.
  • Disease protection.
  • Industrial activities or services involving live animals.

6

Public Order / Sound judicial system

  • Provision of semi-public functions and other services involving high level of trust and info asymmetry is reliable and of good quality.
  • Notaries.
  • Bailiffs.
  • Auditors.
  • Legal Services.

7

Protection of recipients of services / Consumer protection

  • Provision of services involving high level of trust and info asymmetry is reliable and of good quality.
  • Social services:
    • Special care homes.
    • Child care
    • Rehabilitation.

8

Protection of creditors / Effectiveness of fiscal supervision

  • Ensuring stable financial environment and social security system.
  • Ensuring that the provision of services involving high level of trust and info asymmetry is reliable and of good quality.
  • Prevention of unfair competition or fraud.
  • Prevention of criminal activities (money laundering etc.).
  • Financial Services:
    • Banking.
    • Insurance.

9

Education and culture policy

  • Ensuring a high level of education in a society.
  • Preservation of national heritage, promotion of national language and values.
  • Essential educational activities.

  • Handling and restoration of historical artifacts.
  • Audio-visual media.


What is license? 

License is a contract between the government and an establishment.


What are the license aimes? 

  • Limiting certain activities.
  • Restricting certain activities.
  • Establishing standards of performance and monitoring the compliance to these standards. 

 

Why is license needed?

License is needed to guarantee that an establishment knows its business well and is conducting it in a sustainable, honest and safe manner.

 

Who is issuing the license and who is owning it?

License is issued by Invest Easy.

Each license has only one owner. However other co-operative government entities can be involved in the licensing process to provide approvals.


Business Activities Licensing Types 

There are 2 types of Licenses:

  1. Auto License. Including:
    • Flexible "Free" Business Activities.
  2. Procedural License. Including:
    • Restricted Business Activities (Integrated).
    • Restricted Business Activities (Non-Integrated).


Two types of regulations are used globally

Ex-ante: License must be acquired before starting practicing the business activities.

example: 

  1. Procedural License Restricted Business Activities (Integrated) (The case of activity needs license).
  2. Procedural License — Restricted Business Activities (Non-Integrated).

Ex-post: Business activities can be practiced right away, but it may need to send a notification to register the activities or it need to upload a rental contract to start doing business.

example: 
  1. Procedural License  Restricted Business Activities (Integrated) (The case of activity needs notification only).
  2. Auto License Flexible "Free" Business Activities.