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Economic, political and social progression
NOV 18 is a special date in Oman's calendar. It is the birth date of our beloved leader, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, and our National Day. Every year, this day is celebrated with utmost joy and happiness.
The 49th National Day today highlights Oman's progress and prosperity under the leadership of His Majesty, who laid the foundations for modern Oman. The achievements of the past 49 years reveal the huge efforts made in all sectors.
Oman has contributed to peace, safety, and stability within its borders and in the region, during the transition from the 1970s to the 21st century. Its economic and social achievements have boosted the living standards of Omani citizens.
The establishment of the basic law of Oman and its amendments have ensured the rule of law. They have allowed deep cooperation between executive and legislative institutions within the framework of equality, independence of the judiciary, and facilitation of justice for citizens.
On Oct 27 this year, the Majlis Ash'shura (Shura Council) held its ninth-term elections. More than 49 per cent of the population voted, a slight increase compared with previous elections. This included overseas votes. Two women won seats in the Majlis Ash'shura, compared with one in the previous election.
Balloting was easy and smooth, thanks to arrangements made by the Ministry of Interior. It was conducted electronically for the first time in all stages, starting with registration of new voters. It used a 100 per cent-Omani designed and manufactured electronic device.
It had been developed over the years and made suitable for all voters, including the disabled.
The Sultanate has won recognition in a number of competitiveness indicators released by international institutions. For example, it ranks first in freedom from terrorism, reliability of police services, independence of the judiciary, road quality, efficiency of port services, and open data. All these reflect the efforts of the government in various economic, social, service, and other sectors.
Also, a national conference to formulate a Future Vision Oman 2040 strategy was held on Jan 27-28 this year. It involved a large base of sectors, including those from Singapore. Their participation is key to successfully devising a draft strategy, to meet the expectations of all segments of Omani society, and rally the cooperation of all sectors.
To fulfil the requirements of Oman Vision 2040, and launch the Omani economy into a new stage and attract investments, the Sultanate is making extensive efforts to promote its favourable investment climate and facilities, including the Special Economic Zone at Duqm and free zones elsewhere.
Oman and Singapore's relations date back centuries. Muscat Street in Kampong Glam, and the Jewel of Muscat - the replica of an ancient Omani ship at Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium - signify the historical ties between the two friendly countries.
Oman and Singapore share the same aspirations of economic prosperity and social stability. Our trade has broadened in range from oil and gas and goods, to tourism, aquaculture, urban planning, training, and IT.
Most importantly, people-to-people relations have widened, and Singapore has become one of the favourite destinations of Oman tourists and honeymooners. The number of Singaporeans visiting Oman has also been increasing yearly. In 2019, two major Omani companies, OXEA Pte Ltd and Orpic, opened their offices in Singapore, reflecting the growing ties between the Sultanate of Oman and Singapore.
The Oman-Singapore relationship has continued to develop and diversify positively over the years. Once again, I would like to affirm that our ties of friendship and cooperation will continue to promote the progress and growth of both our nations.