Ahmed Mourad (Cairo)
The Sultanate of Oman’s celebrations of the 52nd National Day coincide with the approaching third anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said’s accession to power on January 11, 2020, to succeed the late Sultan, Qaboos bin Said, and after a national career that spanned nearly 40 years, during which he moved Between many positions and leadership positions in different sectors.
With the accession of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq to the throne of the Sultanate of Oman, the chapters of a new development era began, which was reflected in a long series of achievements and reforms that he achieved in just 3 years, foremost among which is the modernization of the national action process, and moving forward on the path of comprehensive development.
43 years ago from now, specifically in the year 1979, the career of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said began in national and public work after graduating from the British Oxford University, and the beginning was through diplomatic work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Over the course of 23 years, he held many positions and positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including heading the Political Department, then heading the European and the Americas Department. In 1986 he was appointed Undersecretary for Political Affairs, and in 1994 he was appointed Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the rank of Minister. During his work within the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said assumed the presidency of the Omani-Japanese Friendship Association, during which he succeeded in strengthening and deepening the cultural, economic and political ties between the Sultanate of Oman and Japan, and he received wide praise from the Japanese side due to his success in increasing the volume of economic, cultural and political cooperation. Between the two countries.
In addition to his prominent work in the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, during the early years of his national career, held many important positions in the sports sector, and he left many fingerprints and unprecedented contributions in this sector that contributed to the advancement of this sector. of the Omani Football Association between 1983 and 1986, at the top of his fingerprints and sporting achievements.
In 1984, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq played a major role in the success of the Arabian Gulf Cup in its seventh edition, which was held in the Sultanate between March 9 and 28 of the same year, by assuming the position of Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Organizing Committee for the Gulf Championship.
He also assumed the honorary presidency of Al-Seeb Sports Club, which is one of the oldest sports clubs in the Sultanate of Oman. It was founded in March of 1972, and he succeeded in winning many local titles during this honorary presidency. In the year 2010, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq left a remarkable mark of success in the history of Asian sports during his presidency of the organizing committee for the second Asian Beach Games, which was held in Muscat in the same year, with the participation of sports teams from 45 Asian countries, and all participating delegations and the Asian and international press praised the role of the Sultan. Haitham in the success of this major sporting event, which is one of the most prominent sporting events in the Asian continent.
Sultan Haitham also played an active role in the advancement of cricket in Oman, which made the Sultanate occupy the fifteenth place in this sport among the 104 member states of the International Council for the game, as he assumed the honorary presidency of the Omani Cricket Club, and directed his support and interest to the game and its development.
Minister of Culture
In February of the year 2002, a new phase began in the career of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq after the late Sultan, Qaboos bin Said, issued a decision appointing him as Minister of Culture and Heritage. Sultan Haitham bin Tariq held the position of Minister of Culture for 18 consecutive years, and just as he succeeded in achieving many successes and achievements in the sports sector, he also achieved similar achievements and successes in the cultural sector, most notably his success in revitalizing cultural life in the country, and spreading cultural and knowledge awareness among sectors The different Omani society, especially the youth category, as publishing houses spread throughout the Sultanate, book sales increased, and the theater and arts sector witnessed many successes and distinguished works of art.
President of the future vision
The successes achieved by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq in all the positions and positions he held, whether in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the sports sector, or the Ministry of Culture, earned him the confidence of the Omani people, as well as the confidence of the late Sultan, Qaboos bin Said, which made him chosen in 2013 to head The main committee of the future vision known as “Oman 2040”, which focuses on the diversification strategy by transforming the Sultanate’s economy into five pivotal sectors, namely: tourism, logistics, manufacturing, fishing, and mining.
This vision came under the slogan “We will move forward with confidence”, and aims to increase the percentage of Omani nationals working in the private sector, and to increase foreign investments to 10% of the gross domestic product. The main committee chaired by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq included the Technical Committee, the sectoral committees consisting of the Human and Society Committee, the Economic and Development Committee, the Governance and Institutional Performance Committee, the National Priorities and Strategies Harmonization Committee, and the Organization and Follow-up Committee.
ruler of the country
On January 11 of the year 2020, allegiance was made to Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, Sultan of the country, Prime Minister, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, in implementation of the will of the late Sultan, Qaboos bin Said. In his inauguration speech, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq clarified the general lines of his internal and external policies in managing the Sultanate, pledging to work on the development and progress of the Sultanate, including achieving the goals of the future vision “Oman 2040”, adhering to the policy of non-interference in the affairs of other countries, and staying away from conflicts and disputes. And push the march of cooperation between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
At the beginning of the year 2021, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq issued two historic decrees. The first is Royal Decree No. 6/2021, which is related to the basic system of the Sultanate. It included the development of a specific and stable mechanism for the transfer of the mandate of government in the Sultanate, the establishment of a mechanism for appointing the crown prince, and a statement of his duties and competencies, with Emphasis on the principle of the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary as a basis for governance in the Sultanate, and an emphasis on the role of the state in ensuring more rights and freedoms for citizens, in addition to a special chapter for following up and monitoring government performance by establishing a committee that follows the Sultan to follow up and evaluate the performance of ministers and undersecretaries. The Basic Law of the State stressed the rights and duties of Omani citizens, which include non-discrimination in any form, equality between women and men, care for children, the disabled, adolescents and youth, compulsory education until the end of the basic education stage, encouraging the establishment of universities, advancing scientific research, nurturing creators and innovators, and the right In life, human dignity, safe life, and the sanctity of private life. While the second decree related to the Oman Council Law, which consists of the elected Shura Council and the appointed State Council, and includes the council’s terms of reference, membership conditions, and all the rights and duties of members.
Vision “Oman 2040”
Since he assumed the management of the affairs of the Sultanate’s leadership in January 2020, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq has been striving to achieve the goals of the future vision “Oman 2040”, which is implemented over 4 consecutive development plans, and aims to diversify and strengthen the national economy, and achieve sustainable economic growth at a rate of 5% annually, With an increase in the average per capita income by up to 90%.
In addition to creating an educational system characterized by high quality, and establishing an effective national system for scientific research, creativity and innovation that contributes to building a knowledge economy, working to achieve comprehensive geographical development based on the principle of decentralization, and creating an attractive environment for the labor market and employment that provides the private sector with the opportunity to lead a competitive national economy integrated with International Economy.
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq considered this vision in one of his official speeches, “the Sultanate’s gateway to overcoming challenges, keeping pace with regional and global changes, investing in available opportunities and generating new ones.” Sultan Haitham bin Tariq initiated the implementation of the vision of “Oman 2040” by launching the tenth five-year development plan (2021-2025), which seeks to stimulate economic activity, develop the macroeconomic environment, raise the efficiency of public financial management, and develop the necessary infrastructure to stimulate private investment. And accelerating the implementation of major strategic projects and partnership projects between the public and private sectors. The Sultanate began implementing the tenth five-year development plan through the implementation of many influential economic projects, including the operation of the port of Duqm at its full capacity, the operation of the Liwa plastic industries complex in the state of Sohar, the start of investment in the fish and food industries area in the fishing port of Duqm, and the start of production from the “Ghazir” field. » which works to provide additional energy for local industries. In October 2020, the medium-term fiscal balance plan (2020-2024) was announced, which works to achieve financial sustainability and financial balance between revenues and public expenditures.
Over the past three years, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq succeeded in achieving positive results in a number of financial, economic and monetary indicators, including an increase in the gross domestic product at the end of the third quarter of the year 2021, recording 24.2 billion Omani riyals, with a growth rate of 13.8% compared to 2020.
In September 2021, the International Monetary Fund expected a recovery in economic activities in the Sultanate of Oman, and a growth in real GDP of 4.2% in 2023. In another context, all credit rating agencies modified their outlook for the Sultanate of Oman to stable and positive.
The Sultanate of Oman also recorded a decrease in the estimated deficit from 4.8 billion Omani riyals before the reform measures taken by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, to reach 1.2 billion Omani riyals by the end of 2021, i.e. by 75%.
On the other hand, commodity exports increased by 42.2%, and the Central Bank of Oman’s reserves of foreign currency increased by 31%, to reach $18 billion until the end of December 2021, and total deposits with the banking sector recorded a growth of 5.3%, to reach OMR 25,200,000,000. By the end of October 2021.
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq adopted many policies and decisions stimulating economic growth, and raising the contributions of non-oil sectors to promoting economic growth. In attracting investments and capital, it recorded an increase in the number of projects that were localized in the first quarter of the year 2022 in the industrial cities, as it reached 61 projects.
During the first three years during the reign of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, the Sultanate of Oman achieved a major boom in the field of commercial and industrial ports and seaports. Communications are the second source of national income, and the Sultanate is connected with 86 commercial ports in 40 countries around the world with 200 direct weekly flights.
According to the United Nations Maritime Trade Report for the year 2020, the Sultanate ranked first in the world in the length of stay of ships in ports, considering it a model for distinguished interaction by facilitating maritime trade and converting goods clearance to electronic transactions.
In the annual report of maritime transport for the year 2020 issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Sultanate ranked first in the world in the speed of handling container ships, with an average stay of 12.5 hours for container ships, including entry, exit, loading and unloading operations.
In March 2020, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq issued directives to establish what is known as the “Job Security Fund”, and fund it initially with 10 million riyals, which reflects the importance of the file of employment of job-seeking citizens, and its consideration as a top national priority in Sultan Haitham’s agenda.
In addition, the package of initiatives announced to provide job opportunities through the launch of the National Employment Program, which is one of the most important national programs emanating from Oman Vision 2040. This program works to find sustainable solutions to provide jobs in the state sectors and private sector companies.
Sultan Haitham bin Tariq paid great attention to the development of education in its various types and levels, and he pledged that it be among the government’s priorities in the strategic plans in order to improve it and raise its level, and to achieve comprehensive development for young people through educational strategies. The education sector during the reign of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq made remarkable progress in global indicators, as Sultan Qaboos University was ranked by the “Times” magazine among the best 1000 universities in the world for the year 2021, as the Omani university witnessed a great boom in the fields of education, scientific research and transfer. Knowledge of innovations and patents. In the pre-university education sector, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq is keen to meet educational needs and provide education for all in all governorates of the Sultanate, in order to meet the increasing growth in the number of students. The number of public schools has reached 1182, and the number of kindergarten schools in private education has reached 370. And private schools reached 292 schools. Sultan Haitham bin Tariq was keen to provide educational services for people of determination in special education schools, the program for integrating people with disabilities, and the program for supporting people with learning difficulties. In the academic year 2021/2022, the number of integration classes reached 383, an increase of 85 from the previous year.
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