VAT social protection initiatives announced

A reputed news agency in the Sultanate of Oman has announced that His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik has recently approved the implementation of a number of social protection initiatives. These initiatives include Value Added Tax (VAT), which is meant to go-live in the Sultanate on 16 April 2021.

The VAT initiatives and concessions include:

  1. Expansion of the scope of zero-rated food items from 93 to 488 commodities. The full list of items is available here.
  2. The government will bear the cost of VAT imposed on electricity and water services for all citizens who own two accounts or less of the residential category, including families who already fall under the targeted government support category.
  3. Increase the amount of subsidized and consumed fuel by National Support Card holders from (200) liters to (400) liters per month. The government will then bear the cost of VAT for the specified amount to ensure it remains at par with the pre-VAT rates.

More guidelines on how the above initiatives will be implemented, including the expanded list of zero-rated food items, is expected to be released in due course.

Other initiatives announced under the social protection programme cover the following:
  1. Enhance the amount of support provided to programs run by the Ministry of Social Development that are related to handling insolvent cases.
  2. Exempt all citizens whose monthly income is less than OMR 350 from the debts of the soft housing loan program at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning.
  3. Exempt all citizens who benefit from Sanad and Livelihoods/mawarid alrizq (former) program from paying the unpaid amounts due from them.
  4. The Oman Development Bank will provide financial facilities without interest and fees for self-employed workers which include: sales and mobile services, household chores, owners of taxis licensed to work in hotels and airports, women's projects and workers in the field of fishing, in accordance with the principles that will be announced by the bank.
  5. The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority will launch an emergency financing program for entrepreneurs holding a Riyada card, in accordance with the controls that will be announced by the authority.
  6. Extend the period of disbursing the job security benefit for applications that fulfil the established conditions and permit acceptance of applications that are late for the specified period until the end of 2021.
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