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Report | The Report: Oman 2017

Despite ongoing economic pressures associated with the drop in oil prices, Oman’s diversification strategy and efforts to enhance wider revenue streams are beginning to bear fruit, as witnessed by continued growth in the non-oil sector despite dropping incomes and wider regional instability.

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Chapter | Legal Framework from The Report: Oman 2017

This chapter contains an overview of the legal framework in which local and foreign investors operate in the country, including a breakdown of the distinctions between conventional and Islamic banks, an outline of the employment regulations for both Omanis and foreigners, and a look at commercial and personal bankruptcy laws.

Chapter | Tax from The Report: Oman 2017

This chapter contains an overview of the tax framework in which local and foreign investors operate, including a rundown of the expected changes to corporate tax rates, a look at the incentives on offer in the special economic zones and a glance ahead at plans for the proposed GCC-wide value-added tax. This chapter contains an interview with Omar Al Sharif, Country Senior Partner Oman, PwC

Chapter | Health from The Report: Oman 2017

Oman boasts a universal health care system, which offers free primary health care to Omanis and subsidised care to foreign residents. Over the past four decades greater access to medical facilities and doctors has greatly improved the lifespan of Omani citizens, who have seen their life expectancies increase from 49.3 years in 1970 to roughly 76 years in 2016. However, the cost of the public health care sector in Oman is increasing steadily, and future public investment will need to continue rising in order to meet this demand. This could prove challenging in the years to come, and may see the private sector take on an increasingly prominent role in supplying medical treatment and care.

Chapter | Education & Training from The Report: Oman 2017

Evolving rapidly over a short period, education and training play a key role in Oman’s long-term development plans. From three schools in the country prior to 1970, the sultanate’s general education sector has expanded to include 1647 public, special education, private and international schools, with a total of 724,395 pupils, including kindergarteners and preschoolers. Enrolment is compulsory for 10 years of basic education and free for all Omani citizens. Progress has been reflected in significant improvements in the adult literacy rate, which reached 94.8% in 2015, up from 81% a decade earlier, and in 2013/14 the higher education segment was served by 18 public colleges, 20 private colleges, one state university and seven private universities. This chapter contains an interview with Pankaj Khimji, Director, Khimji Ramdas; and Director, Muscat University

Chapter | Tourism from The Report: Oman 2017

Having welcomed record numbers of tourists in 2015, Oman’s government looked to build on this momentum a year later by unveiling plans to double international arrivals by 2040 and develop strategic tourism clusters across the country. The sultanate is eager to shed its reputation as a luxury destination and boost the performance of other segments in the coming years. The Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre is one development that can help broaden the sector’s reach, by firmly establishing the country as a major destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. Meanwhile, the ecotourism and adventure travel subsectors are seen as ripe for development and promotion by the government. With a significant increase in hotel rooms in recent years and flagship development projects under construction across the country, Oman may soon emerge as a major destination, not just for regional tourists, but also for travellers from further afield. This chapter contains an interview with James Wilson, CEO, Oman Tourism Development Company

Chapter | ICT from The Report: Oman 2017

Driven by growth in consumer demand for data and improved connectivity, combined revenues from fixed-line telephony and mobile services in Oman reached OR906.19m ($2.4bn) in 2015, a 12.8% increase on the previous year. Infrastructure providers face considerable challenges in rolling out high-speed services to all areas of the country, while increased competition in the mobile market is creating a renewed focus on customer service and offerings tailored to specific niches in Omani society. While many trends in the country’s telecoms sector reflect developments in the industry region-wide, distinct characteristics in the sultanate’s own market include strict prohibition of voice-over-internet-protocol services such as Skype and Facetime, which limits the cannibalisation of call revenues seen in other countries. This chapter contains an interview with Said Abdullah Mandhari, CEO, Oman Broadband Company.