The Omani Government has recently showcased an increasing interest in the development and support of Small and Medium Enterprises (“SME”). The initiative is in compliance with His Majesty’s directive to support and develop SME as “the future engines for the growth of Oman’s economy”. A new Royal Decree was issued on the 31st of May 2013 setting up a separate entity in charge of SME - the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises.
RD 36/2013 terminates the Directorate General for SME in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and creates an all-new governmental body with powers and duties allocated for the development and growth of SME. The newly established Public Authority is a subsidiary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and all competencies, jurisdictions and even employees of the Directorate General for SME will be transferred to the Public Authority.
Aims of the Public Authority
The main aim conferred from the RD in relation to the goals and objectives of the Public Authority is the development and support of the growth of SME in conformity with His Majesty the Sultan’s directives.
The Public Authority aims to achieve overall development of SME, to strengthen the role of SME in providing more employment opportunities, reinforcing competition between established SMEs as well as assisting SME in adding value to the economy and participating in economic diversification.
Public Authority’s Powers
The new RD gives various powers and prerogatives to the Public Authority, most importantly:
- Providing financial, technical, administrative and legal consultations and assistance.
- Assisting in licenses and approvals processes.
- Marketing products and services of SME through holding exhibitions inside and outside of Oman.
- Establishing a full electronic database and a call centre enabling SME to obtain support to conduct its activities.
- Providing a specialized mechanism in association with the Tender Board to allocate a percentage of tenders to SMEs.
The Executive Regulations to Royal Decree No. 36/2013 will be issued soon and are expected to provide more detail on how such prerogatives are to be utilized.
The members of the board of the Public Authority consist of four groups:
- Governmental representatives of: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, the Ministry of Manpower and the Supreme Council for Planning.
- The CEO of Al Rafd fund.
- Two CEOs of large corporations in Oman which are contributors to the development of SME.
- Two owners of small or medium enterprises who have the time to dedicate to act as board members to the Public Authority.
All members have a four-year term which can be renewed once. The Board has been formed to ensure that all SME will be fully, fairly and transparently represented and supported.