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Omani Free Zone Adopts New Regulations

by Lorys Charalambous, Lowtax.net, Cyprus
30 July, 2015

Oman's Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority has adopted new regulations on land use by investors and environmental protection, which came into force on July 27, 2015.

The usufruct regulations stipulate that SEZAD is the only body authorized to license the usufruct (right to use without full ownership) of state-owned land within the Duqm Special Economic Zone. Usufruct licenses will be granted in exchange for remuneration specified by SEZAD's Board of Directors, following approval by Oman's Ministry of Finance.

Usufruct licenses are valid for a limited time. In the case of state-owned land, the validity of a usufruct license will not exceed 50 years. Licenses may be renewed if approval is granted by SEZAD.

The environmental regulations state that projects in the free zone may operate once environmental permits have been granted. Permits will be granted to projects that meet certain environmental standards.

Projects must obtain an environmental permit prior to construction. This permit is valid for one year, subject to renewal. Once construction is complete another permit must be obtained. This permit will be valid for two years, subject to renewal.

Projects that fail to comply with environmental regulations are liable to a fine of up to OMR200,000 (USD519,480), the suspension of operations for up to six months, or the cancellation of the environmental permit.

SEZAD was established in 2011. The business incentives offered by the zone include a waiver or reduction in corporate tax and customs duties, duty-free sales to domestic and Gulf Cooperation Council markets, 100 percent foreign ownership, and free repatriation of profits and capital.

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