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Finance Ministry Unveils Social Security Scheme Initiatives Package Endorsed By HM The Sultan

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Muscat, 8 Apr (ONA) —- The cost of the Social Security Scheme (SSS) initiatives package endorsed by His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik stood at more than RO 100 million, said the Ministry of Finance said in a statement issued here today.

Economic and social initiatives and incentives endorsed by His Majesty the Sultan earlier will continue to apply until the finalization of the SSS that the government is establishing to serve as a durable scheme sustaining all current and past services, programmes and networks of social security.

The package provides for the following:

1.  Enhancing support given to programmes of Ministry of Social Development related to handling of insolvent cases.

2.  Absolving all citizens whose monthly income is less than RO 350 from debts of the soft housing loans programme of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning.

3.  Writing off all outstanding dues of all citizens benefiting from two programmes known as “Sanad Programme” and “Livelihood Resources Programme”.

4. Providing, through Oman Development Bank, interest-free financial incentives, which include sales and mobile services, household chores, owners of taxis licensed to work in hotels and airports, women's projects, workers in the field of fishing—all in accordance with the principles to be announced by the bank.

5.  Launching, via the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority, an emergency financing programme for entrepreneurs holding Riyada cards, in accordance with the regulations to be announced by the authority.

6.  Extending the period of disbursing the “Job Security Benefit” for applications that meet the prescribed terms and conditions while at the same time accepting belated applications that are received beyond the deadline. The extension continues till the end of this year (2021).

7.  Expanding the list of basic food commodities charged zero percent in the value-added tax (VAT) from (93) commodities to (488) food commodities.

8.  The government bears the cost of the VAT charged against electricity and water services for all citizens who own two accounts or less of the residential category. This includes families that were previously eligible for government support for the two services.

9.  Increasing the volume of subsidized fuel to be consumed by holders of the National Support Card from (200) litres to (400) litres per month. The government bears the cost of the VAT towards that amount so that it remains at the same subsidized price of 180 baisa per litre.
 
The package has been informed by His Majesty the Sultan’s directives to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (acting in coordination with other government departments concerned) to study and rectify the status of companies adversely affected by the current economic challenges.

The step also enhances the stability of the labour market and ensures the contribution of companies to the role to be undertaken by the private sector in supporting balanced economic growth in accordance with the priorities of Oman Vision 2040. 
—— Ends/AB/KH