State Council Committed To Continued Supportive Approach To National Action
17 Nov 2020
The intensive actions and activities that characterised the 2019-2020 session, the 1st year of the first Annual session of the 7th term of the State Council reflects its considerable efforts symbolising its supportive approach to national action paths. The commitment that powered the Council derives from its vision to specifically collate and articulate the interests of the nation as a whole.
The current seventh term of the State Council is exceptional as the first annual session witnessed a smooth transition in the mandate of government in the Sultanate. This was following the demise of the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur - may God rest his soul - and the assumption of the reins of power by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq - may God protect him.
The Council of Oman had the honour of embracing the announcement of this dignified transition of power, following the first Royal exalted speech of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq - may God protect him delivered after the swearing in as the new Sultan of Oman on January 11th, 2020.
Additionally, the first annual session of the seventh term of the State Council witnessed the issuance of Royal Decree No.112/2020 appointing HE. Sheikh Abdul Malik bin Abdullah Al Khalili as Chairman of the State Council, succeeding HE.Dr.Yahya bin Mahfoudh Al-Manthri, former State Council Chairman.
Also, came the issuance of Royal Decree No.113/2020 appointing HE. Khalid bin Ahmed bin Said Al Saadi to succeed HE.Dr.Khalid bin Salem Al Saidi, former Secretary General of the Council.
INTENSE PARLIAMENTARY ACTIVITY
The first annual session of the seventh term of the State Council (2019-2020) was characterized by intense activities marked by several achievements accrued through the Council's exercise of its tasks within the framework of its powers and competencies, and the discharge of its commitment towards national goals.
The Council held (10) Ordinary Sittings, in addition to holding a memorial session for the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur, may God bless him and grant him peace .
During its Ordinary Sittings for the first annual session of the seventh term, a number of draft laws were discussed, referred by the government, and approved the study of many proposals and studies proposed by the Council, in addition to discussing the Draft State Budget for the fiscal year 2020.
The second Ordinary Sitting of the first annual session of the seventh term enabled the formation of the Technology and Innovation Committee. The committee is concerned with studying draft laws and reviewing laws in force that fall within its competences, presenting studies and proposals in the field of technology and innovation, in addition to reviewing and evaluating policies related to technology and innovation, and by creating this new committee. The sitting approved the addition of human resources development within the competencies of the Economic Committee.
With regard to the draft laws referred by the government, the parliament discussed (4) draft laws, namely: the Draft Law on Hidden Trade, Draft Law on the Protection of personal data, Draft Law to amend the Income Tax Law and the Draft Law of Value Added Tax(VAT) . The Council raised these draft laws to His Majesty the Sultan, together with the opinion of the two Councils in preparation for their promulgation.
During its fourth Ordinay sitting of the first annual session of the seventh term, the Council approved the study of (17) proposals submitted by its standing committees to study them during the first annual session. The proposals submitted by the Legal Committee include: A study and review of the Notary Public Law issued by Royal Decree No. (40/2003), a study of the system of experts who work before the courts in the Sultanate and a study and review of the system of Real Estate Ownership in Integrated Tourism Complexes issued by Royal Decree No. 12/2006.
The proposals submitted by the Economic Committee include: a study of enhancing the utilization of manpower in the public sector, promoting entrepreneurship and local added value, challenges of national manpower in the private sector, and studying the stability of the Omani economy in light of the decline in oil prices and the Coronavirus (Covid 19) pandemic.
The proposals submitted by the Social Committee include: reviewing the Marine Pollution law issued by Royal Decree No. (34/74), study of the status of elderly in the Sultanate, and review of laws and policies regulating social housing. The proposals submitted by the Culture, Media and Tourism Committee include: a proposal to study “ Omani digital cultural content” and study “"Investment in Traditional Omani heritage villages to attract tourism.”
The Education and Research Committee presented a proposal for a study of the status and future of teachers in the Sultanate and a proposal about the reality of scientific research and the role of private sector companies in supporting and developing it.
The proposals submitted by the Technology and Innovation Committee aimed to study the Draft Law of “Technology and Innovation Investment,” the study of “Cyber Security Draft Law,” and the study of “the reality of intellectual property in the Sultanate through legislation and policies regulating it.”
BUREAU ACTIVITY SUMMARY
The Council's Bureau during the first annual session held 10 meetings and hosted a number of Heads and rapporteurs of the Standing committees to discuss the reports submitted by their respective committees on draft laws referred to them, and the proposals for studies submitted by them. The Council’s Bureau also discussed several reports during its meetings as well as the messages received from a number of agencies.
The Council’s Bureau discussed, in its joint meeting with Majlis A’Shura, many issues that contribute to developing joint coordination between the two councils to ensure the complementarity of their roles and contribute to promoting authentic and accurate consultative practice.
STANDING COMMITTEES, WORKING GROUPS AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES
The Standing Committees, the working groups emanating from them and the special committees during the first annual session of the seventh term held more than (80) meetings, reviewed many topics referred to them, in addition to the proposals submitted by them. The meetings hosted officials of a number of relevant authorities to add value to the studies of the committees.
Special groups formed by the State Council discussed Bank loans and Insurance and Capital Initiatives.
In terms of strengthening parliamentary diplomacy, during the first annual session of the seventh period, the Council had a number of reciprocal visits with counterpart councils with the aim of building bridges of communication and developing parliamentary cooperation with brotherly and friendly countries.
The Council received officials and delegations from a number of brotherly and friendly countries, including: Dr.Mishaal bin Fahm Al Salami, Speaker of the Arab Parliament, Dr. Hannah Neumann, Head of the Delegation for Relations with Arabian Peninsula in the European Parliament , EStefan Krijack, the Charge d‘affaires of the Hungarian Embassy, HM the Bahraini King’s Advisor on Youth and Sports Affairs Saleh bin Isa Bin Hindi, HE. Eduardo Bolsonaro, Chairman of the Committee on International Relations and National Defense, Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, Delegation representing the Consultative Authority of the GCC Supreme Council, headed by Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Hassani, Director General of the Office , Delegation of the 7th National Defense Course, headed by Major General Salim bin Musallam bin Ali Qatan
, Commandant of the Omani National Defense College, Delegation of the Nepali House of Representatives headed by Bimal Prasad, Chairman of the Council's Human Rights Committee, MdB Mr. Sebastian Münzenmaier, AfD- Chairman of the Tourism Committee of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag),the National Defence College Bangladesh, led by Major General Abdullah al-Baqi ,the National Defense and High war course from Sudan, led by Adil Hassan Hamid Al Jamri , the War Course (11) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the 41st Diplomatic batch of the Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Institute .
The Council also received a delegation from the Office of the Advisory Body of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and a delegation from the Moody's and Fitch Foundation, in addition to receiving a number of thinkers and artists participating in the dialogue session (Media Dialogue Council) about the late Sultan Qaboos Bin Said bin Taimur - may God rest his soul - in addition to the council’s reception of sheikhs, adults and notables of Quriyat.
Within the framework of the exchange of parliamentary visits between the Council and its counterpart legislative councils, visits were exchanged between the Council and the Czech Senate with the aim of strengthening the existing relations between the two councils. The Council recorded an active presence in a number of regional and international parliamentary forums, including participation in the meetings of the Gulf legislative councils, the Arab Parliament, the Union of Councils of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and the International Parliament. Hon. Sheikh Said bin Mohammad Al-Braiki, State Council member participated in the thirteenth periodic meeting of heads of Gulf legislative councils in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In the proceedings of the procedural session of the Arab Parliament, Hon.Dr.Hassan bin Ali Al-Madhani, State Council member was elected as the second Vice President and participated in the meetings of the Foreign, Political and National Security Affairs Committee and Social, Educational, Cultural Affairs, Women and Youth Committee.
Hon. Dr. Ahmed bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Amri represented the Council of Oman at the forty-fourth emergency virtual meeting of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Councils of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The Council also participated in the work of the 140th General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, during which the Inter-Parliamentary Union renewed the Sultanate’s membership for the second time in a row in the Executive Committee of the Forum for Young Parliamentarians of the Parliamentary Union. Sultanate retained this position, after the renewal of the membership of Hon.Dr.Rayya Salim Said Al-Manthari, State Council member and member of the Executive Committee of the Young Parliamentarians Forum, represented the Arab Group for the second time in a row. Hon. Dr.Aisha bint Said Al-Ghabshia, State Council member participated in the virtual session of the Governing Council of the International Parliament.
Within the framework of the Council’s awareness of the importance of parliamentary diplomacy in strengthening the bonds of cooperation between countries, the Council adopted a system of "Representing the Council of Oman in regional and international forums", which provides for the establishment of a joint committee for the Foreign Relations Division of the Council of Oman to organize the participation of both the State Council and Majlis A’ Shura representing Council of Oman in Regional and International forums and the activities of federations and bodies, including the International Parliamentary Union, the Arab Parliamentary Union, the Arab Parliament, the Federation of Councils of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or any other regional or international unions or bodies or councils in which the Sultanate participates.
In the same context, the Council approved a proposal on "organizing the work of friendship committees", whereby the parliamentary friendship groups that the Council formed in cooperation with Majlis A’Shura to play an important role in consolidating the Council of Oman’s relations with these councils.
In a clear affirmation of the firmness of the institutional practice of shura in the Sultanate, the Council launched during the last session the Council’s Memory Project, which is a vital project that documents a key stage in the life of the State Council and chronicles an important period of its participation in the national work and the comprehensive development process over its past six periods.
CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT- CORE OF TRAINING COURSES
The General Secretariat for Administrative and Financial Affairs represented by the Human Resources Department conducted for the employees lectures and training courses titled `Together We Develop ', "Protocol and International Public Relations in Parliaments" and “Activating Skills of Parliamentary Media”.
OUTREACH: INFORMING, ENGAGING AND EDUCATING COMMUNITY BY PROMOTING PARLIAMENTARY CULTURE
The Council is keen on community participation by organizing seminars that deal with some societal issues in addition to participating in national events and some events and exhibitions that take place in the various governorates and states of the Sultanate, and in this context the Council, in cooperation with Majlis A’Shura participated in the 25th Edition of the Muscat International Book Fair.
The Council also seeks to contribute to spreading parliamentary culture among the various segments of society, especially students of schools, colleges and universities, by receiving visitors and introducing them to the council’s tasks, specializations, and mechanism of work, in a way that contributes to spreading the Shura awareness in society. The Council was visited during this period by : Sultan University Qaboos students , students of Eastern University, students of the Master’s in Public Administration at the Modern College of Commerce and Science, “Majan University” students, and students of Mazoon College. The council also received the participants in the student visit “ Oman - Love and Peace,” a number of students from Madinat Sultan Qaboos Private School, and a group of female students Al-Shaimaa School in Adam State, in addition to receiving a delegation from the Omani Women's Association from the Wilayat of Sur in the Governorate of South Sharqiya.
The intensive Council activities during its first annual session of the seventh term confirm its keenness to support the path of state institutions and law that was drawn up by the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimoor - may God rest his soul - and continued by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq - may God protect him.