By Gavin Gibbon
Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, forecasts 2.5-3% annual growth in 2020
Oman is set to introduce VAT from 2021, according to Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, the country’s Minister of Commerce and Industry.
“We’re looking at 2021 to bring in VAT,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
All six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members agreed in 2016 to implement a VAT charge levied at five percent.
However, to date only Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have introduced the charge.
“This is something people don’t like but this is something we’ve been lobbying for,” added Al Sunaidy.
He admitted that the oil crash in 2014 hit the Sultanate hard, with its GDP falling from OR30 billion to OR26bn, although he stressed it was back up to pre-2014 levels.
He said: “Thank god we are now back on OR30bn and so now we have to get in on reform, economic reform and enabling further the youth and the private sector to carry the future.”
Reforms include cuts to fuel and electricity subsidies as well as the introduction of a foreign investment law and PPP law, designed to open Oman up further to the world.
As a result, Al Sunaidy said they are forecasting annual growth between 2.5 percent and three percent, “unless something big interrupts the neighbourhood”.