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HM issues Royal Decree to establish Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones and define its competences

August 18, 2020

His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik issued a number of Royal Decrees on August 18, 2020, including   Royal Decree No. (105/ 2020) to establish the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones, promulgate its regulation and define its competences,

The Royal Decree No. 112/2020 appointed HE Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy as Chairman of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones, and the Royal Decree No. 113/ 2020 appointed HE Eng. Ahmed bin Hassan Alawi Al Dheeb as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors.  

The Royal Decree establishing the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones reads as follows:

Royal Decree No (105/2020)

We, Haitham bin TariK, Sultan of Oman

After perusal of the Statute of the State, Royal Decree No. 56/2002 issuing the Free Zones Law;

Royal Decree  No. 103/2005 establishing a free zone in Al Mazuna,

Royal Decree No. 62/2006 establishing the free zone of Salalah,

Royal Decree No. 123/2010 establishing the free zone of Sohar,

Royal Decree No. 119/2011 establishing the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm and issuing its Regulation,

Royal Decree No. 79/2013 issuing the regulation of the Special Economic Zone at Duqm,

and Royal Decree No. 75/2020 on the State's Administrative Apparatus, and in pursuance of the public interest,  

We have decreed the following:

Article One:

A public authority under the name “The Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones” shall be established. The Authority is a government entity reporting to the Council of Ministers and enjoys financial and administrative autonomy.

Article Two:

The headquarter of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones shall be located in the Governorate of Muscat and by virtue of a decision to be passed by its Board of Directors, it may establish branches in other governorates or offices outside the Sultanate.

Article Three:

The competences of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones shall be defined in accordance with the Annex attached to this decree.

Article Four:

The Chairman of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones shall be the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Article Five:

All financial allocations, assets, rights, obligations and inventories of the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm shall be transferred to the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones.

Article Six:

Employees of the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm shall be transferred, with the same financial grades to the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones.

Article Seven:

The Chairman of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones shall exercise the prescribed competences of Free Zones Committee as stated in the Law of Free Zones and the Royal Decrees establishing the Free Zones of Al Mazuna, Salalah and Sohar.

Article Eight:

The phrases “the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm”, “Board of Directors of the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm”, “Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm”, “Chief Executive Officer of the Special Economic Zone Authority at Duqm”, wherever they might occur in the laws and Royal Decrees, shall be replaced with the phrases “the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones”, “the Board of Directors of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones”, “the Chairman of the Board of Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones” and “the Chairman of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones”. The phrases “Free Zones Committee”, wherever it may occur in the Law of Free Zones and the Royal Decrees establishing the free zones of Al Mazuna, Salalah and Sohar, referred to above, shall be replaced with the phrase “Board of Directors of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones”.

Article Nine:

The advantages, incentives and exemptions stipulated in the Laws and Royal Decrees establishing both: The Special Economic Zone at Duqm and Free Zones shall apply to the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones until specific Royal Decree is issued on this matter.

Article Ten:

All that is contrary to this Decree or contradicts with the provisions hereof is hereby repealed.

Article Eleven:

This decree shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall come into force from the date of issuance.

Issued on: 28th of Thu Al Hija 1441  

Corresponding to: 18th of August 2020  

Following the Competences of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones as stated in the Annex attached to the decree:

  1. The Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones shall develop policies and strategic plans of special economic zones and free zones that contribute to achieving development plans of the Sultanate and submit them to the Council of Ministers for approval.
  2. Implement, follow up, and evaluate approved policies and strategic plans.
  3. Prepare studies, plans and programmes related to the competences of the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones.
  4. Oversee the Special Economic Zone at Duqm, Al Mazuna Free Zone, Salalah Free Zone, Sohar Free Zone and any other special economic zone or free zone.
  5. Propose establishing special economic zones and free zones, and take necessary procedures for issuing Royal Decrees of their establishment, determining their locations, boundaries, incentives, advantages and facilities prescribed to be granted to the operator and operating corporate.  
  6. Organise and control investment environment in the special economic zones and free zones.
  7. Promote investment opportunities in special economic zones and free zones inside and outside the Sultanate in coordination with the competent bodies.
  8. Determine usufruct right of state owned lands located in the special economic zones and free zones without being bound to the provisions of the Royal Decree No. 5/81, regulating usufruct of state owned lands.
  9. Implement the One-Stop Shop system in the special economic zones and free zones.
  10. Issue all types of licenses, permits and certificates for conducting businesses in the special economic zones and free zones.
  11. Provide and develop the services and establish necessary public facilities in the special economic zones and free zones, with due consideration to the provisions of the laws and applicable systems regulating the services and facilities referred to.
  12. Specify the economic activities and projects that can be conducted in the special economic zones and free zones.
  13. Approve forming companies in accordance with the laws in force for the purpose of developing and promoting special economic zones and free zones, mange, develop, improve and promote their basic sectors.
  14.  Approve concession agreements in the special economic zones and free zones prior signing them.  
  15. Coordinate with competent bodies to ensure fulfilling the obligations prescribed in concession agreements. 
  16. Coordinate with competent bodies to provide security and emergency services in the special economic zones and free zones. 
  17. Determine the required Omanisation percentage in the special economic zones and free zones.
  18.  Set the rules governing movement of goods and people from and to the special economic zones and free zones.
  19.  Draft proposals of laws and Royal Decrees, issue regulations and decisions related to the competences of the Authority.
  20.  Enhance and develop cooperation with other regional and international competent bodies, specialised organisations and establishments.
  21.  Represent the Sultanate in conferences, events, regional and international meetings related to the competences of the Authority.
  22. Any other functions assigned to the Authority pursuant to the laws and Royal Decrees.  

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