Covid-19: Oman waives several fines to support the private sector

© Motivate Publishing OMAN-HEALTH-VIRUS-VACCINES

Oman has announced a series of new decisions including fine waivers to support private sector businesses hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the new measures include allowing employers to renew expired labour permits for workers who are still abroad while waiving the associated fines and absolving small and medium establishments of entrepreneurship card renewal fees charged against expired commercial activities this year.

The Supreme Committee tasked with tackling developments resulting from the coronavirus said the new decisions would “enhance the sustainability of businesses and their ability to adapt to the exceptional situations”, the official Oman News Agency (ONA) reported.

The committee also noted a general decline in the number of Covid-19 cases, hospitalisation, admission to ICUs and deaths in the country.

However, it warned that many individuals and entities are not following the precautionary measures, particularly with regards to vaccination as a pre-requisite to entering government establishments and business outlets including commercial complexes, and restaurants, as well as venues hosting cultural, sports and social group activities.

Other types of violations, including the holding of large social gatherings, non-wearing of face masks and non-abidance of the precautionary measures in some establishments were also detected.

The committee stressed that the relevant authorities will continue to “penalise the offending parties and individuals” and will shut down any establishments found in breach of the precautionary measures.

The latest decisions include:

* Waiver of fines charged against licences issued by government departments for certain activities which expired or are due to expire during the period June 1, 2020 until December 31, 2021 – provided renewal takes place.

* Waiving fines for renewal of non-Omani labour cards and associated fines for cards which expired or are due to expire between June 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021, for those who have left the sultanate or for those who renew the cards.

* Waiver of fines accrued on various establishments and companies due to non-renewal of their commercial registers and licences, provided they renew the registers and licences during 2021.

* Allowing employers to renew expired labour permits for workers who are still abroad, while at the same time waiving related fines accumulated during the period of June 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021.

* Absolving small and medium establishments (SMEs) of entrepreneurship card renewal fees charged against all expired commercial activities during 2021.

The committee also announced a series of measures which will be valid until December 31, 2021, ONA reported:

* Granting labour permits in lieu of leaving labour for all segments and as per the prescribed fees set for each segment.

* Urging banks and financing firms to cooperate with affected borrowers, notably SMEs (holders of Riyada business cards) by re-scheduling the loans, without charging fees for that.

* Absolving SMEs of registration fees in the ‘Isnad’ system affiliated to the Tender Board.

* Absolving SMEs of land usufruct (development) fees and postponing the repayment of outstanding dues.

* Postponing the repayment of SME premiums for holders of Riyada business cards benefiting from the previous Al Raffd Fund financing loans.

* Waiving rental fees payable by SME owners — who are holders of Riyada cards — for certain activities for real estate properties owned by government departments and authorities.

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