7. State-Owned Enterprises
State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) are active in many sectors in Oman, including oil and gas extraction, oil and gas services, oil refining, liquefied natural gas processing and export, manufacturing, telecommunications, aviation, infrastructure development, and finance. The government does not have a standard definition of an SOE, but tends to limit its working definition to companies wholly owned by the government and more frequently refers to companies with partial government ownership as joint ventures. The government does not have a complete, published list of companies in which it owns a stake.
In theory, the government permits private enterprises to compete with public enterprises under the same terms and conditions with access to markets, and other business operations, such as licenses and supplies, except in sectors deemed sensitive by the Omani government such as mining, telecom and information technology. SOEs purchase raw materials, goods, and services from private domestic and foreign enterprises. Public enterprises, however, have comparatively better access to credit. Board membership of SOEs is composed of various government officials, with a cabinet-level senior official usually serving as chairperson.
SOEs receive operating budgets, but, like budgets for ministries and other government entities, the budgets are flexible and not subject to hard constraints. The information that the GoO published about its 2020 budget did not include allocations to and earnings from most SOEs.
The GoO has indicated that it hopes to reduce its budget deficits by privatizing or partially privatizing some government-owned companies. Although the plan for privatization is not publicly available, the GoO has already begun to reorganize its some of its holdings for public offerings.
In March, State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) acquired a 49 per cent stake in Nama Holding, a government-owned holding company for five electricity transmission and distribution companies. The government’s divestment of a portion of its ownership in telecommunications firm Omantel is one example of a past partial privatization. In this case, the government offered Omantel stock on the Muscat Securities Market, but only to Omani investors.
The government allows foreign investors to participate fully in some privatization programs, even in drafting public-private partnership frameworks. In July 2019, Oman established the Public Authority for Privatization and Partnership (PAPP), which is reportedly examining 38 public-private partnership projects for implementation. Forthcoming executive regulations for the new Privatization law reportedly will clarify the role of PAPP in public-private partnerships.
13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics
In 2018, total FDI inflow into Oman was $4.1 billion, an increase from $2.9 billion in 2017, according to the UN World Investment Report 2019. Oman’s National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) is currently the only host country source of 2018 data on FDI. Total cumulative FDI at the end of the second quarter of 2018, was RO 9.7 billion (over $25.22 billion) compared to RO 8.3 billion (about $21.58 billion) from the second quarter of last year, a growth rate of almost 17 percent. The United Kingdom remains by far the biggest investor in FDI, followed by the UAE, the United States, Kuwait, and China (see Table 3).
Major foreign investors that have entered the Omani market within the last five years include SV Pittie Textiles (India), Moon Iron & Steel Company (India), Sebacic Oman (India), BP (UK), Sembcorp (Singapore), Daewoo (Korea), LG (Korea), Veolia (France), Huawei (China), SinoHydro (China), and Vale (Brazil).
* Source for Host Country Data: National Centre for Statistical Analysis, 2018 Q2.
|Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data|
|From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)|
|Inward Direct Investment*||Outward Direct Investment**|
|Total Inward||30,313||100%||Total Outward||16,764||100%|
|“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000. *Source for Host Country Data: National Centre for Statistical Analysis, 2019 Q2 (Inward). **2017 Q4 (Outward). Data on Oman from the IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment Survey is not available.|
Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment
Data not available.