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Illegal acquisition of public land on the rise

Admits challenges in recovering state property

Gulf News

Muscat: Oman’s Council of Ministers acknowledged on Wednesday that the government was facing an uphill task in recovering public lands illegally appropriately by some individuals.

The admission came in a communiqué issued by the Council detailing decisions taken during the preceding two months on a variety of issues of national interest. These decisions, it said, were taken in line with its goal to drive socioeconomic development, foster nation-building, and secure a better future for citizens and the nation.

Reporting on its ongoing efforts to “preserve the Sultanate’s lands and utilize them in an optimum and sustainable way”, the Council of Ministers noted that land-grabbing of state property was on the “rise”. “A presentation was made by concerned departments about illegal appropriation of land belonging to the state. The issue was brought up before state officials and it was found out that this phenomenon is on the rise. The teams tasked with correcting the situation are facing resistance from some individuals who do not have any legal evidence to corroborate their claims,” the Council said in the statement issued via Oman News Agency (ONA).

It called upon all concerned to adhere to land regulations for the benefit of all.

Listing other issues that were deliberated during the period under review, the Council said it had actively followed up on the directives of the country’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos, to maintain a balance in the ratio of expatriate labour versus the country’s population. That limit has been broadly set at 30-33 per cent of the total population.

“The Council underscored the need for cooperation with the government to help regulate the manpower sector and reach (Omanisation) percentages that would not have a negative impact on development, but help the youth by encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” it stated in this regard.

Deliberations also covered a raft of other “domestic” issues, the Council said. They include measures to regulate quarrying operations, enhancing insurance cover for Omanis working in the private sector, combating the smuggling of petroleum products out of the country, and the introduction of legislation outlawing anti-competitive practices. The relevant departments have been charged with finding suitable solutions for these issues, it stated.