The Sultanate, full of pride and trust, will celebrate Wednesday the 45th Glorious National Day. The blessed modern Renaissance is continuing its endeavours to achieve more progress and prosperity for the Sultanate under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.
The 18th of November is a date of great significance for Oman and its people as it marks the day when Oman commenced its journey to revive its glorious past and positive tangible contributions to the brotherly and sisterly peoples and the world in general.
The 18th of November is an occasion where all Omanis express not only their love and loyalty to His Majesty the Sultan, but rather to remember the major achievements made by the Sultanate in all spheres of life under the wise leadership of His Majesty the Sultan, the Architect of modern Oman.
Peoples all over the world usually seize the opportunity of national days to assess the achievements made, get more thrust to continue in the future and rectify their pathway, if necessary. The Omani people seize this opportunity to reaffirm their readiness to sacrifice life and soul to protect their dear nation and its achievements and to rally behind His Majesty the Sultan to realise the objectives and priorities of the development process as outlined by His Majesty the Sultan.
The 45th Glorious National Day celebrations have special importance and noble meanings as they are presided over by His Majesty the Sultan after returning home safe.
While His Majesty the Sultan expressed satisfaction over the comprehensive development process in the Sultanate and the efforts made by the Government and other state institutions, His Majesty the Sultan stressed the importance of maintaining the daily living of citizens, as well as the services provided to them. His Majesty the Sultan urged the Government to expedite the developing of the plans that ensure economic diversification, completing the major projects that will bring benefits to the public, attract more investments to Oman, activate the public private partnership and continue encouraging the establishment of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The Sultanate’s Government, as well as all state’s departments use His Majesty the Sultan’s directives as roadmap and action plan for them. To this, they do every possible effort to bring security, stability and accord.
Oman also supports every sincere effort to achieve peace through dialogue, peaceful means and through ways that achieve common interest for all peoples. It also seeks to channel all its energy to achieve the aim of its people without interfering in the affairs of others.
What makes Omanis feel proud of the 45th Glorious National Day is that the celebrations are associated with three major achievements that will take the Omani modern Renaissance under the wise leadership of His Majesty the Sultan, towards new wider avenues that will witness more involvement of the citizens in decision-making and more endeavours to ensure better future for Omanis and further peace and stability in the region. This comes amidst wider regional and international recognition of the contributions made by the Sultanate to promote peace and stability in the region.
The first unique achievement is that the 45th Glorious National Day’s celebrations coincide with the end of the 8th five-year plan and at the same time marks the beginning of the 9th five-year plan (2016-2020), which will be launched in 2016. The 9th five-year plan will mark the last five-year development plan in Oman Vision 2020, which was launched in 1996.
The 9th five-year plan will focus on the social area, maintaining the actual levels of income for the citizens, seeking to enhance this source of income, giving thrust to SMEs and human resources development and completing the major projects in the different sectors to enhance the producing abilities of the national economy.
Work is also under way by the Supreme Council for Planning (SCP), the Main Committee for Oman Vision to prepare Oman Vision 2040, in collaboration with the different institutions of the state. The strategy takes into consideration giving big momentum to diversifying sources of the national economy, enhancing the role of the private sector, showing more interest in renewable energy especially wind and solar power.
It will also take into consideration limiting reliance on oil as the main source of income, activating industry, transport, logistic services, tourism, agriculture, fisheries and communication sectors to benefit from the Sultanate’s strategic location and turn it into a regional logistic hub that connects the region and the world on one hand and invest the available physical, cultural and modern resources in Oman to serve the Omani economy and to ensure better life for all citizens on the other hand.
The second unique achievement, which coincides with the 45th Glorious National Day celebrations is the Majlis Ash’shura 8th term elections, which were held very successfully on October 25th 2015. About 612,000 male and female voters headed to 107 polling stations at the different wilayats and governorates to elect 85 Majlis Ash’shura members for the 8th term. The turnout rate for the Majlis Ash’shura elections stood at 56.6 percent with only one woman elected as member of the Majlis Ash’shura 8th Term. The elections process, which went very transparent and smooth, witnessed the introduction of e-voting. There has been an intense media coverage for the elections by many Omani, Arab and foreign media means. They all praised the good organisation of the elections process and the good turnout by Omani women.
A large number of youths became members of the 8th Term of the Majlis Ash’shura compared to the previous terms. This will enhance the role of the Majlis Ash’shura, which already have legislative and oversight powers as per the amendments introduced to the Basic Law of the State in 2011.
His Majesty the Sultan issued a Royal Decree naming members of the State Council. His Majesty also opened deliberations of the 6th Term of the Council of Oman “Majlis Oman” that comprises the State Council and Majlis Ash’shura, thus declaring the beginning of the 6th Term of the Council of Oman, then the 6th Term for the State Council and the 8th Term for the Majlis Ash’shura.
His Majesty the Sultan affirmed in his Royal Speech that the achievements made in various domains are a source of pride. His Majesty also aspired to continue the Blessed March with greater will, as achieving this requires the collaboration and integrity of efforts for the interest of all.
His Majesty the Sultan said: “We have been closely following up the tasks carried out by Oman Council—through its two bodies of Majlis Ash’shura and State Council—over the past period. We value the effort exerted by the Council, which has had a tangible effect in contributing to pushing forward the march of comprehensive development towards further progress and prosperity. We pray to the Almighty Allah to guide us all to success in serving our homeland and to support us with His divine assistance, for He hears and answers supplication.
The Omani citizen is involved in actual decision-making through the State Council whose members are appointed by His Majesty the Sultan from among the best Omani experts, and through Majlis Ash’shura whose members are elected by the citizens at the different wilayats.
This means that the Sultanate is making constructive and positive efforts to stop fighting in Yemen and resume negotiations among Yemeni parties to restore security to the different parts of the sisterly Yemeni Republic.
As for the situation in Syria, it should be noted that over the past months, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, has visited Damascus and met with the Syrian President Bashar al Assad on 25th October 2015. The Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed al Mualim visited Muscat last August 2015. A delegation of the Syrian opposition also visited the Sultanate in October 2015. The Russian President had a phone call with His Majesty the Sultan following the Syrian President’s visit to Moscow last month.
The Sultanate’s good offices emanate from its sincere desire to achieve stability and security for countries of the region. These efforts neither aim at making personal interest or serving a special agenda. It is therefore not surprising that these efforts gained the trust and respect of all parties in the region and outside the region.
While the state revenues declined by more than 36 percent over the past months due to the sharp slump of oil prices at the world market since mid-last year, His Majesty the Sultan’s Government is making endeavours to absorb this sharp decline in revenues through many ways that take into consideration not to prejudice the basic services provided to the Omani citizens.
The Omani Government is also striving to enhance the contribution of non-oil sector in the GDP. The results of these efforts have started to materialise over the past months. His Majesty the Sultan affirmed continuing the precautionary measures while presiding over the meeting of the Council of Ministers on November 1st, 2015.
While the Sultanate’ Government is making endeavours to develop its administrative system to keep pace with developments of the current stage including developing a system for assessing the quality of the Government services and e-Oman conversion, the Council of Ministers has delegated the Supreme Council for Planning to revise the mechanisms and national strategy programs for the logistic sector within the framework of Oman future vision for the Omani economy. Moreover, it urged the relevant organisations to expedite the implementation of the remainder packages of the main projects in Duqm zone.
The efforts made to improve the ranking of the Sultanate in terms of doing business. The Sultanate came second at the Arab level and 22nd at the world level, from among 158 countries covered by the third report about happiness in the world in 2015. The Sultanate was also ranked seventh at the world level in life quality indicator in 2015.
These indicators are closely linked to several social, economic and cultural factors, as well as to the health and social care services provided to the citizens. These glorious achievements are the outcomes of the Royal care of His Majesty the Sultan to the citizen and society over the past 45 years.