Oman – Muscat Daily An Apex Media Publication Thu, 08 Jun 2023 14:13:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Oman – Muscat Daily 32 32 Biparjoy storm 1,030 km away from Oman’s coast Thu, 08 Jun 2023 12:21:33 +0000 Muscat – The tropical storm Biparjoy is 1,030km away from the coast of Oman, the Civil Aviation and Authority (CAA) announced on Thursday.

In a statement issued by Civil Aviation and Authority (CAA) said that the tropical system is located in the middle of the Arabian Sea at latitude 13.7 north and longitude 1.4 east. ‘The wind speed around the eye of the cyclone is estimated between 64 to 82 knots.

CAA has warned people about the rough sea conditions over the coming days due to the sea waves rising to rough waves 3-6 meters on the coasts of the Arabian Sea.

‘The sea condition is expected to start on Friday, June 9 and continue over the next three days,’ it stated.

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Muscat International Airport receives first flight of Pakistan’s AirSial Thu, 08 Jun 2023 09:54:08 +0000 Muscat – Muscat International Airport received the first flight of the Pakistani airline AirSial on Thursday.

A statement issued by The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said, ‘AirSial will operate eight scheduled flights per week, connecting Muscat to Islamabad Airport (three flights), Lahore Airport (three flights), and two flights to Sialkot Airport.’

The number of passengers arriving at Oman’s airports increased 94 per cent in January this year compared to the same period of 2022.

Data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information shows the number of departing passengers also increased 115 per cent year on year in January 2023.

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ROP nabs three expats for smuggling khat into Oman Thu, 08 Jun 2023 09:50:39 +0000 Muscat – The Royal Oman Police (ROP) on Thursday arrested three expatriates for smuggling large quantities of khat into Oman.

In a statement, ROP said, ‘Coast Guard Police in Dhofar arrested three people of Arab nationality with several bundles of khat. The accused were attempting to smuggle large quantities of khat into the country.’

‘Legal procedures have been taken against them,’ it stated.

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Urgent call for donation of negative blood types Thu, 08 Jun 2023 09:48:59 +0000 Muscat – The Department of Blood Banks Services (DBBS) has urged people with negative blood types to come forward and donate.

In a statement, DBBS said, ‘Blood banks are facing difficulty in providing negative blood types (A-, AB-, B-). If your blood type is negative, we urge you to donate at Central Blood Bank Bausher because there are people in dire need of this blood type.’

People can donate blood from 8am to 8pm, from Saturday to Thursday, and from 8am to 2pm on Friday.

Appointments can be made through WhatsApp – 94555648, or by dialing 24591255 or 2494255.

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Oman, Russia sign pact to avoid double taxation Thu, 08 Jun 2023 09:46:14 +0000 Muscat – Oman and the Russian Federation inked an agreement on Thursday on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of tax evasion for income taxes.

The agreement was inked by Saud Nasser al Shukaili, Chairman of Oman Tax Authority on behalf of the Oman government and Alexei Sazanov, Deputy Minister of Finance on behalf of the Russian government.

The agreement aims to legally protect investors from imposing double taxes and regulate the imposition of tax between the two countries, which will contribute to enhancing investments and trade exchange between them.

Meanwhile, Oman has signed more than 38 taxation agreements with friendly countries to expand the scope of investments and trade exchange.

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Dhofar readies for khareef season 2023 Wed, 07 Jun 2023 18:12:40 +0000 Salalah – The Dhofar governor’s office on Wednesday convened a meeting of all parties to take stock of the governorate’s preparedness for the ensuing khareef season.

The meeting – held under the auspices of H H Sayyid Marwan Turki al Said, Governor of Dhofar, at his office – assessed the preparedness of various government and private establishments deployed for services during the festive season.

H H Sayyid Marwan expressed gratitude for the directives of His Majesty the Sultan to provide direct subsidies on fuel prices at Salalah Airport and equate fuel prices with counterparts at Muscat International Airport.

This, he said, will encourage the operation of more direct flights to and from Salalah Airport. He noted that the competitive prices will enhance tourism and economic activities in the governorate.

During the meeting, government and private establishments outlined their plans for the Khareef season.

The meeting also touched upon the readiness of Salalah Airport, services and plans for regulating traffic and air traffic safety, as well as procedures on access through checkpoints, medical services, ambulance services, residency and accommodation.

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MoH releases guide for baby-friendly hospitals Wed, 07 Jun 2023 18:09:27 +0000 Muscat – The Ministry of Health (MoH) on Wednesday released a national guide for baby-friendly hospitals as part of its efforts to encourage breastfeeding in health institutes.

Represented by the Nutrition Department, the ministry launched the National Guide for Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) under the patronage of H E Dr Said bin Harib al Lamki, Undersecretary for Health Affairs at MoH.

The ceremony was attended by directors general in the governorates, hospital directors, health workers, as well as maternal and infant healthcare providers.

A training workshop was also held to introduce the provisions of the guide, and the challenges faced by the institutions in implementing this initiative.

The resource persons, who addressed the workshop, informed the participants about the BFHI’s international evaluation requirements. There were 150 health workers who participated in the training workshop.

BFHI was launched by WHO and Unicef in 1991 to encourage health facilities worldwide to better support breastfeeding.
It proposed ‘Ten Steps’ as a package of policies and procedures that facilities providing maternity and newborn services should implement to support breastfeeding.

The BFHI guide outlines key responsibilities to scale up implementation of those ‘Ten Steps’ through critical management procedures complying fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.

It requires all health institutes to have a written infant feeding policy that is routinely communicated to staff and parents, besides ensuring their staff having sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding.

“Oman was one of the countries that initiated the implementation of BFHI in 1992,” Dr Salima al Mamari, Director of Nutrition Department at the Directorate General of Primary Health Care, MoH, informed.

She added that a national team, supported by Unicef, was formed in 2022 to evaluate this initiative across all the health institutions in the country. In addition, 59 nurses from various governorates, have been trained on the international breastfeeding programme, while breastfeeding clinics were opened in most of the hospitals.

The implementation of the BFHI guide demands strategies to scale up to universal coverage and ensure sustainability over time. It focuses on integrating the programme fully in the healthcare system, to ensure that all facilities in a country implement the ‘Ten Steps’ outlined in the guide.

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Jabal Akhdar receives over 57,000 tourists in 5 months Wed, 07 Jun 2023 18:07:30 +0000 Muscat – Jabal Akhdar has attracted a significant number of visitors, with 57,867 people exploring this picturesque place in the first five months of 2023, as per statistics released by the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

Renowned for its moderate summer climate and freezing winters, Jabal Akhdar has become popular as an ideal place for ecotourism and adventure enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy activities such as walking through wadis, mountain climbing and cave exploration, allowing them to immerse in local culture.

Of the total visitors, 16,476 were Omani citizens, which demonstrates the interest of the locals in exploring Jabal Akhdar’s natural wonders.

“With the beginning of summer, Jabal Akhdar is witnessing a surge in tourists, including citizens, residents, and visitors,” said Ali Saif al Shukaili, assistant director of the Department of Heritage and Tourism in Dakhiliyah governorate.

“Jabal Akhdar offers a range of accommodations with approximately 734 rooms across 13 establishments, including resorts and hotels rated from 3 to 5 stars,” Shukaili informed.

Two more tourist facilities are currently under construction in Jabal Akhdar, funded by private sector players. These facilities – expected to be complete by the end of this year – will provide approximately 180 rooms to cater to the growing demand.

Shukaili also spoke about the efforts that the ministry is taking to promote tourism. Organising various tourism events such as the Jabal Akhdar Festival held in August last are making a good impact, he added.

“The ministry is actively promoting tourism investment opportunities in the wilayat to attract investments, create job opportunities, and enhance services to meet the needs of tourists.

The ministry is taking steps to make Jabal Akhdar even more appealing for adventure-seeking tourists.”

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Experts urge caution as citizens drown in wadis Wed, 07 Jun 2023 17:44:56 +0000 Muscat – Following recent incidents of drowning that claimed the lives of two citizens, authorities and experts are urging caution when venturing out into wadis and the sea.

The Civil Defence and Ambulances Authority (CDAA) emphasised the importance of adhering to safety measures and avoiding hazards during summer outings to wadis, particularly for families and youth seeking adventurous experiences.

In response to a distress call on Saturday, Muscat’s CDAA rescue team swiftly acted upon the drowning incident of a 24-year-old citizen in Wadi al Arbeieen, Quriyat.

Sadly, the individual could not be saved. The rescue team recovered his body later.

In a similar incident in early May, CDAA reported another citizen missing for three days. They eventually found his body in a wadi in Dima Wa al Taien, North Sharqiyah.

According to CDAA’s latest statistics, water rescue teams handled 521 calls related to drowning accidents in 2021. In light of these incidents, CDAA urged people to maintain caution and warned against swimming in undesignated areas.

Experts stress the importance of adhering to safety measures while swimming.

Said Ali al Shayadi, a free diving instructor, explains that unfortunate incidents occur when individuals, particularly youth, neglect safety measures. He reminded that the purpose of swimming should be to enjoy the outdoors, rather than competing with others.

“Everyone should start small and select swimming areas that match one’s fitness level, while also staying mindful of weather conditions.”

Adventurer Khalid Said al Anqoudi underscored the need for adhering to guidelines during adventure trips and wadi swimming. This includes wearing life jackets and choosing well-known tourism companies that provide necessary equipment. “I urge youth to adhere to safety measures while swimming.”

CDAA reminded individuals to ensure physical fitness and good health before engaging in such activities to mitigate risks. The call for caution and preparedness serves as a crucial reminder to prioritise safety.

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Forum explores opportunities, challenges for startups in Oman Wed, 07 Jun 2023 17:42:56 +0000 Muscat – The Omani French Friendship Association, in collaboration with Omantel, organised a forum at the Omantel headquarters to address the opportunities and challenges faced by start-ups in the country and beyond.

The event brought together over 100 attendees, including students, and those representing startups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to discuss ways of overcoming adversities and navigating the entrepreneurial landscape.

Raouti Chehih, co-founder and CEO of Tansley, and an angel investor, shed light on the transformative nature of SMEs.

“There is a saying that nothing is lost and nothing is created; everything is transformed. This holds true for present-day Omani SMEs and for the pioneers of the past who transformed their products and services.”

The forum encouraged new entrepreneurs to explore crowd funding, angel investors, and building trust, rather than solely relying on direct funding from organisations.

One of the challenges faced by SMEs is the lack of a proper digital platform for exposure.

Ahmed al Ghadani, CEO of Byanat, a technology solutions provider, highlighted the importance of online exposure for SMEs in today’s age, stating, “some customers lack the basic online exposure, which is essential for any SMEs these days”.

Services provided in Oman, particularly through apps, are known for their speed and cost-effectiveness.

Sharing his experience during the event, Azzan al Kindi, CEO of Rihal, a data processing company, said, “When we solved a problem in Oman, we received orders from Angola. Soon after, we received a tender from the US, competing against giants like Infosys and Wipro. However, due to our cost-effectiveness and faster delivery time, we secured the project.”

His company got the project but it faced challenges with the legal processes, which took around three months to navigate.

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