Coronavirus: Government announces packages to support private sector

In order to support the economy and private sector hit by the virus outbreak, the Supreme Committee on Covid -19 on Wednesday 15th April 2020 has approved a number of packages to support the private sector and its employees.

1. In the current circumstances, the affected private sector companies may negotiate a reduction in the wages of their employees for a period of three months in exchange for a reduction in working hours.

2. The affected private sector institutions and companies are entitled to grant annual paid vacations to their workers in sectors that have been closed due to the current situation.

3. Employers can renew the expired license of their expatriate workers who are currently abroad during the precautionary period

4. The affected private sector companies and institutions may negotiate to reduce the wages of their employees for a period of three months in exchange for reducing the working hours after the balance of the employee’s paid vacations has been fully exhausted, provided that this procedure is applied – if necessary – as of a month May 2020.

5. Reduction of renewal fees of expatriate visa starting today to RO201 from RO301 until June 2020.

6. Extending the period of non-Omani workforce recruitment licenses that expires during this period. Initial work licenses may be approved for a non-Omani workforce that is partial or temporary use, where fees are calculated for the number that the establishment wants.

7. Multiple establishments owned by the same partners may delegate their employees to work in any of these establishments when necessary, and the package allows private sector establishments to use the workforce of other establishments to work in their facilities according to a written agreement between the establishments.

8. Allows affected private sector institutions and companies to terminate their non-Omani workforce labour contracts, provided that these institutions commit to paying all workers dues before leaving the country permanently.

For the time being, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry also has announced measures to support the private sector.

The exemption of fees for renewing the commercial registry until the end of June 2020 for all institutions and companies.
Allowing the operation of service institutions, which provide services to large institutions or individuals according to precautionary controls that are determined by the competent authorities and adopting precautionary measures in factories so that the committed factories are allowed to continue their work.

The package includes exemptions obtained by the private sector institutions and companies from licensing renewal fees and fines for a period of three months for the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, the Ministry of Tourism and the General Authority for Consumer Protection.

For Omani workforce

1.The private sector is not allowed to end the services of the Omani workforce, and the affected institutions and private sector companies are entitled to submit paid annual vacations to their workers in the sector that have been closed.

2. For Omani workers, the measures include postponing the repayment of bank loans and various financing loans due to them during the period of reducing wages and rescheduling loans without interest and without additional fees.

3. Postponing the payment of electricity, water, and sewage bills until the end of June 2020, and providing installments and scheduling the amounts due later.

4. Enrolling the beneficiaries according to the income category to the National Fuel Support Card.