On the 23rd of July every year since 1970, the Sultanate of Oman has been celebrating Oman’s Renaissance Day, which had ushered in a new dawn on country under the wise leadership of Qaboos Bin Said, Sultan of Modern Oman.
On that day, 49 years ago, the blessings of Oman Renaissance spread all over the Sultanate, bringing about a new era of modernisation and prosperity that has benefited all citizens. Since then, Oman has revived its positive role within its GCC, Arab and regional milieu. It has acted as a proponent of peace and a strong pillar in this vital region of the world where the interests of many superpowers and regional and international parties intersect.
The splendor of this blessed renaissance march has tangible in various walks of life, all over the country. Omani citizens now savour the bounties furnished by major sustainable development projects that cover the whole country from Musandam on the north to Al-Mazyouna area in Dhofar on the extreme south. This splendor has also been symbolized in values and principles laid down by the architect of modern Oman, Sultan Qaboos, whose directives inspire all development and reconstruction operations.
Since the start, Sultan Qaboos accorded priority to the grooming of generations of Omani citizens for whom he provided all means of progress. Accordingly, society has experienced great educational, health and social growth. The outcome has been the fostering of national specialist carders who received top training so that they could shoulder their role in formulation and orientation of domestic development programmes.
Despite dependence on fluctuating oil revenues governed by the mechanisms of world markets, the greatest gains have been those generations of Omani citizens who have been provided with world class education and training, thanks to values and principles of equality, citizenship, justice and rule of law laid down by Sultan Qaboos.
As part of Renaissance policy, Omani citizens have been considered the most valuable asset. All resources of the country have been rallied to support citizens, including women, so that they could soar with their achievements to wider horizons in response to the ambitions of the nation.
Oman’s stability and prosperity have in fact benefited the whole region because the country furnished grounds for resolving disputes through dialogue and peaceful means. This effort has been made within the framework of mutual respect, adherence to principles of good neighborliness, non-interference in the internal affairs of others, cooperation in good faith to achieve common interests of various countries and respect for principles of international law and justice.
The 23rd of July 1970, Renaissance Day, constituted a major positive divergence in the life of Omani citizens and the history of the country. The modern Omani state whose foundations are set up by Sultan Qaboos has seen the contribution of all citizens in domestic development, which has in fact been the fruit of a massive effort maintained in full sincerity over the past 49 years. This effort, ably guided and inspired by Sultan Qaboos, is the pride of all Omani citizens, who continue to participate in the nation building process in complete love, dedication and allegiance.
The accomplishments made in all civil, military, technical and other developmental fields are more formidable than anything that can be imagined in nation building. In his chairmanship of a Council of Ministers meeting on January 5 this year, Qaboos expressed his satisfaction with the efforts made by government institutions that sustained the rates of basic services in the country, including the diversification of sources of income and the augmentation of non-oil revenues in general returns. The Sultan also underscored the “significance of development plans prepared by the government and their role in generating investments and promoting public-private sector cooperation in all fields of national action.” In particular, he underlined the importance of establishing a National Recruitment Centre and its role in providing jobs to citizens as part of partnership between the public and private sectors.
In this context, it worth noting that the Sultanate has been experiencing extensive action in assessing the Oman Vision 2020 which ends next year and gain lessons from its outcomes while preparing for Oman Strategy 2040 which begins in 2021, namely upon the start of the country’s 10th Five Year Plan (2021-2025). On January 27 and 28, 2019, a national conference was held to formulate Future Vision Oman 2040 in which a large base of sectors participated. This participation constitutes one of the most important factors of success in devising the strategy’s draft aimed to meet the expectations of all segments of Omani society and rally the cooperation of all sectors.
The Sultanate attaches great importance to the employment of Omani job seekers through close coordination among the government and the private sectors. It was in this context that the National Recruitment Centre (NRC) was established in 2018 under Royal Decree No. 22/2019 to form a qualitative shift forward in the recruitment of citizens. The NRC, which has its own legal entity and enjoys financial and administrative autonomy, reports directly to the Council of Ministers.
To prepare for the launching of Omani economy into a new stage, to attract investments and keep pace with the requirements of Oman Vision 2040, the Sultanate is exerting extensive efforts to promote its good investment climate and facilities, including the Special Economic Zone at Duqm and free zones elsewhere. This is in addition to what the country provides in terms of investment incentives within the Sultanate and abroad. Efforts towards this goal include Royal decrees issued on July 1, 2019, including Royal Decree No. 50/2019 on Foreign Capital Investment Law, Royal Decree No. 51/2019 on Privatization Law, Royal Decree No. 52/2019 on Public-Private Sector Partnership Law, Royal Decree No. 53/2019 on Bankruptcy Law and Royal Decree No. 54/2019 on the Establishment of the Public Authority for Privatisation and Partnership. These decrees provide a legal environment to regulate investment in a manner that enhances Omani economy’s competitiveness and expand employment opportunities in accordance with Oman Vision 2040.
In the field of stability and security, the Sultan’s Armed Forces, the Royal Guard of Oman, Royal Oman Police and other security services have been accorded top attention by Sultan Qaboos, who believes that security and stability are the cornerstones of development and prosperity. The domestic progress and regional and international success being witnessed by the Sultanate are in fact the outcome of farsighted policies of Sultan Qaboos.
Among recent achievements of the Sultan’s Armed Forces (SAF) was victory of sail ship, Shabab Oman 2, which took first place in Category A of sail ships at world level during the 4th Tall Ships Regatta 2019. The SAF shooting team also won advanced places in international military marksmanships held in Bisley, United Kingdom last June. The SAF team bagged 30 cups and 184 medals.
At the institutional level of the state, the Shura Council and the State Council (which constituted Oman Council) played a positive role in promoting domestic development, particularly in the discussion of draft laws before their final announcement and enforcement. The two councils work within the context of their legislative, monitoring and audit powers accorded to Oman Council as stated in the 1996 Basic Law of the State.
Arrangements are being made to conduct elections for the 9th Shura Council (Majlis Ash’shura) to elect 86 members representing all 61 wilayats of the Sultanate. Members of the Majlis are elected by eligible citizens under the supervision of a high election commission headed by the Supreme Court Chairman.
Oman’s foreign policy, which stems from the principles laid down by Sultan Qaboos, has established good relations with sisterly and friendly countries. The Sultanate’s foreign policy is based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, respect for neighboring states, the settlement of disputes through peaceful means and cooperation to promote dialogue and understanding among countries towards the establishment of international security and stability of nations.
Recent action within this context included the Sultanate decision to open a new diplomatic mission, which is the Omani embassy in Palestine. The Sultanate also signed a joint defence agreement with the United Kingdom on February 21, 2019. On May 22, 2019, Oman also signed an agreement for cooperation and partnership to develop bilateral ties in political, economic, scientific, cultural, developmental and technological spheres. Oman and China established a Strategic Partnership last year (May 25, 2018). The Sultanate enjoys friendly ties with many other countries and the efforts are expanding on this direction, mainly to serve the goals of sustainable and comprehensive domestic development programmes adopted by the Sultanate.