registered 651 licenses of professional offices last year

The MOCI said that the number of licenses for engineering consultancies, translation, accounting, auditing and other consultancies registered from the beginning of January till the end of December in the year 2019 reached 651, compared with 549 licenses registered during the same period in 2018.

Abdul Rahman bin Salem Al Salmi, head of the professional offices licensing department at the Directorate General of Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is providing licensing services of professional offices along with other services on online portal “Invest Easy”. The transformation of licensing from manual system to electronic system has led to an increase in the number of transactions. It has also made submitting of applications easy and saved time.

Abdul Rahman Al-Salmi said that the service was being provided through “Invest Easy” portal to make the process of registration for investors easy. It is also easy to do the follow up through this portal. The ministry continuously making all the procedures easy and simple for investors and entrepreneurs by introducing electronic self-services.

The department issues professional licenses according to the laws and ministerial decisions which regulate them. It also supervises and monitors professional offices to make sure that all these laws and decisions are being practiced there. It also looks into the complaints filed against professional consulting offices, he said.

Abdul Rahman Al-Salmi said that the terms and conditions of professional offices differed according to their nature. They are regulated by the law of engineering consulting offices issued under the Royal Decree No. 27/2016. The article 5 of the law requires that the license applicant should have an academic qualification not less than a bachelor’s degree in One of the engineering specializations, masters or doctorates, and has practical experience of not less than three years after obtaining a bachelor’s degree and two years of experience after obtaining the master’s degree. He or she should also be free to practice the profession and have good reputation. He or she should not have been convicted of a crime against honour or trust. The article 8 of the law permits that foreign engineering offices and consultancies could get licences and do business in the Sultanate of Oman in partnership with an Omani, provided the Omani partner fulfils all the requirements of practicing that profession. The foreign engineering consultancies must have previous experience of not less than ten years and the Omani partner do not have less than 35 percent share in it. The article 9 of the law permitted the Minister of Commerce and Industry to give license and permits branches of foreign engineering offices and consultancies to carry out the work of the companies owned by them, or on the basis of contracts or agreements with the government of the Sultanate of Oman, or one of the companies owned by them, provided the office is a branch of the head office which is located abroad and has been registered here since at least ten years and has worked for its head office without any interruption. It would have to provide details of studies, projects and works carried out by it around the world and in the Sultanate (in the event of general contracts being executed), provide a comprehensive statement of the solvency of the financial office in accordance with the annual budget of the office and its projects for the previous three years and submit a statement of the office’s plans in regards with the Omanisation of jobs and the capacity of the office to absorb Omani human resources within five years from the date of its getting license. It also has to present valid professional insurance guarantee.

He said that as for the terms and conditions of the legal translation offices, it was regulated by the Law on Organizing Legal Translation Offices issued under Royal Decree No. 18/2003. The article 10 of the law says that applicant must be an Omani and has not previously been convicted of a crime against honour or confidentiality or have not been rehabilitated. He or she must be completely fluent in speaking, reading and writing Arabic and has a high qualification from a recognized university or higher educational institute in which the language of instruction is the language from or into which translation is required. His or her specialisation in the collage should be language and has not less than five years’ experience in legal translations soon after passing out. Those who have passed out from colleges and institutes which specialise in translation are exempted from this condition. The article 7 of the law does not allow practicing of legal translation profession with other general works which is against the ethics of the work. The article 11 of the law also allows foreign legal translation offices to engage in legal translation work in the Sultanate in cooperation with an Omani partner, provided that the Omani partner is licensed to practice the profession, and the foreign office has practiced translation work from and into the Arabic language for at least ten years without any interruption.

Al-Salmi said: As for the terms and conditions of accounting and auditing offices (auditors), they were regulated by the Law Regulating the Accounting and Auditing Profession issued under the Royal Decree No. 77/86. It requires the applicant of license to be Omani and have full-time to practice the profession. He should be educationally qualified for practicing this profession and has a degree from a university or has any certificate or degree recognised at the world level. Similarly, there is no court judgement or disciplinary order issued against him for a crime involving dishonor or dishonesty, unless he has been rehabilitated. The article 9 of the law allows foreign accounting and auditing offices and companies to establish a company in partnership with an Omani, provided that the Omani partner is licensed to practice the profession, and has a share of 35% in its capital. It also requires that the foreign office has worked in this area for not less than ten years without interruptions before they are given license locally.

In regards with terms and conditions of the consultancies for independent and free professions, Al-Salmi said that the law required that the applicant to be of Omani nationality and possess a university qualification in the same specialty which he or she intends to practice, and that no judicial or disciplinary order has been issued against him in a crime of breach of honour or trust unless he has been rehabilitated. The ministerial decree also permitted foreign offices and companies to practice free professions in the Sultanate, provided that they have partnership of an Omani holding a university degree in the same specialty which the company wishes to practice and that the share of the Omani partner is not less than 35v percent. It is also required that the foreign office or company has engaged in work abroad In the same profession for a period of no less than ten years without interruption.

He also said that the accounting offices (accounting and auditing) would audit the company’s accounts preparing the company’s financial statements, monitoring profits and losses and clarifying their sources to reduce the erosion of the company’s capital and providing effective solutions for monitoring accounts as well as managing the company’s financial assets by calculating costs for projects and providing advice to the company’s board of directors. The liquidation of companies would be in accordance with article 43 of the Commercial Companies Law issued under the Royal Decree No. 18/2019. This article says that the liquidator should be one of the licensees of practicing the accounting and auditing profession and accredited by the competent authority.

Abdul Rahman Al-Salmi urged investors, companies and owners of small and medium enterprises to take advantage of the services provided through the online portal “Invest Easy” and identify the opportunities available in the market through which they can expand the activity of their establishments to increase their market share and grow.

Source: Ministry of Commerce and Industry