Monday, January 25, 2021

Oman sultan creates crown prince submit, adjustments structure

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Oman’s sultan introduced a shake-up of the Gulf nation’s structure on Monday with adjustments that embody the appointment of a crown prince for the primary time and steps to spice up authorities transparency, the state-run information company reported.

The transfer, one 12 months after the demise of Sultan Qaboos bin Mentioned, who pulled Oman into modernity and deftly navigated the area’s sectarian and political divides, comes as the federal government faces rising pressures at dwelling. The constitutional amendments carry iconoclast Oman into nearer conformity with different Gulf sheikhdoms and dispel fears of any destabilizing succession disaster sooner or later.

Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Mentioned, the previous tradition minister, got here to energy final 12 months amid intense hypothesis that gripped the sultanate after the demise of his cousin, who left no heirs. His title was written in a sealed envelope left within the palace in Muscat.

Now, there might be no extra thriller or tempestuous theatrics. Sultan Haitham, who quietly has made his mark over the previous 12 months by renaming and reorganizing ministries as soon as managed by his predecessor, modified Oman’s fundamental regulation to permit for the appointment of a crown prince, the succession observe of each different Arab Gulf state.

Monday’s announcement didn’t specify who the crown prince could be or what tasks he would have.

“That is revolutionary,” mentioned Bader al-Saif, an assistant professor of historical past at Kuwait College who research Oman. “It took (Sultan Haitham) a 12 months to soak up every part, and now he’s pushing forward along with his personal stamp. You don’t change the essential regulation frivolously.”

The sultan’s decree additionally creates a committee to watch and consider the efficiency of senior authorities officers. It’s an obvious effort to encourage transparency and accountability because the nation struggles to borrow after credit score businesses listed its debt as “junk” — that means at increased threat for default. Debt stood at round 60% of Oman’s gross home product final 12 months.

Earlier this month, Oman’s state-run information company introduced that the nation expects a 2021 price range deficit of some $5.7 billion, and plans to tackle extra debt and draw from its reserves to plug the hole. The sultanate, which produces slightly below 1 million barrels of oil a day, has felt the ache of plunging oil costs amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Worldwide Financial Fund estimated that Oman’s financial system shrank 10% final 12 months, the sharpest contraction among the many Gulf international locations.

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