Sultan Qaboos Bin Said orders appropriation of 200 million rials for social housing

His Majesty the Sultan honors craftsmen, pensioners

Sultan Qaboos University announces scientific projects winners of His Majesty’s Royal Grants

The Royal Grant of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, allocating 200 million rials to settle all social housing applications registered with the Ministry of Housing till 2009, reflects the generosity and compassion of His Majesty the Sultan for his people. It also signifies the importance he attaches to the social security schemes aimed at providing better living conditions for the people from all social strata.

The Royal Grant is the continuation of the generous gestures by His Majesty the Sultan to ensure the welfare and decent living of his people.

The Royal Grant has a lot of significance, especially because it coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Blessed Renaissance led by His Majesty the Sultan. It is aimed at developing the country and making it prosperous. It also aims at bringing stability and happiness to the lives of people and making them take part in the nation’s development.

The Royal Grant is aimed at providing houses for 10,000 social security and limited income Omani families who constitute a big part of the Omani society in all governorates and regions.

The families would get 15,000 rials for constructing houses with all necessary facilities.

The Royal Grant will also end the long wait of families for a house. It comes as a great relief for them.

Providing houses for the people is one of the basic services by the government. The government tries in many ways to provide housing services and decent living conditions for the people. Besides, there are loan facilities without interest or at nominal interest and other funds to help the citizens.

We hope that such noble attempts will bring development and prosperity to the country and pray for His Majesty the Sultan’s long life and good health.

The Shura Council hailed His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’s Royal Grant allocating 200 million rials for completing all social housing applications recorded till the end of 2009.

The Shura Council office said that this Royal Grant had lots of meanings, humane implications and a generous addition to His Majesty the Sultan’s generous gestures, which had become a norm for His Majesty the Sultan’s subjects.

The Royal Grant at the same time affirms His Majesty the Sultan’s awareness of his subjects’ conditions and concerns. His Majesty the Sultan has established a national system based on developing the Omani man and provides him with good living with dignity wherever he is in the Sultanate.

Shura Council called upon the executive authorities in charge of supervising and implementing this Royal Grant to deliver it to its beneficiaries as soon as possible, in line with contents of His Majesty the Sultan’s wise vision, which takes into consideration the status of this social category. It also called on the respective sectors to be responsible to ensure the success of the noble and humanitarian aims sought by His Majesty the Sultan from allocation of these amounts and helping these families to have proper houses that ensure them stability and security.

This was cited at the regular meeting held under the chairmanship of HE Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Isa’ee, Chairman of the Shura Council.

During the meeting, Shura Council office also reviewed a number replies from different authorities and establishments on economic and development issues.

Shura Council office also reviewed a number of government replies on the questions and requests made by council members to these authorities, including the reply of the Ministry of Manpower on the possibility of including owners of student transportation buses to the Social Insurance Law, the reply of the Ministry of Fisheries on establishing an authority for fish marketing in the Sultanate and the reply of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on establishing industrial committees in wilayats.

On foreign relations, the council reviewed letters and memoranda referred to it from other parliaments and unions on parliamentary cooperation and coordination on a number of issues of joint interest.

Meanwhile, as part of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’s Royal Grant, distinguished handicraftsmen will be given assistance.

Her Excellency Sheikha Aishah Bint Khalfan Bin Jameel Al Siabiah, chairperson of the Public Authority for Craft Industries (Paci), will preside over the ceremony on Saturday.

The craftsmen will receive equipment, machines, and modern tools that would help them improve the quality of their products.

The Royal Grant reflects His Majesty the Sultan’s keenness to encourage the young people who endeavor to protect the heritage of Omani craft.

On the other hand, the 10th University Day of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), commemorating the visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to the institution on May 2, 2000, was celebrated on Sunday.

It was held under the patronage of HH Sayyid Shihab Bin Tariq Al Said, Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan. On this occasion, the strategic research projects, long-term multi-disciplinary research projects of strategic importance to the Sultanate was announced.

Speaking on the occasion, HE Dr Ali Bin Saud Al Bimani, SQU Vice-Chancellor, said that research and education are integral parts of universities across the world. “SQU accords great attention to research and supports it with all possible means.

The research projects at SQU has contributed to providing valuable services to different public and private sector institutions and solutions to vital sectors that are of great importance to the Sultanate such as oil and gas, agriculture, health, fisheries and livestock resources, environment, and renewable energy”, Bimani added.

Bimani outlined the efforts taken in the direction of quality assurance of the academic programs and research initiatives and other facilities at the university. “During the past decade, greater attention has been given to quality assurance and this resulted in accreditation of the programs of the College of Engineering and ISO certification to Sultan Qaboos University Hospital for three consecutive years. The university has also established a quality assurance office. The quality assurance report of the university which was prepared by the Oman Accreditation Council and announced a few days ago, confirmed the university’s achievements in this regard and we are still in pursuit of better achievements”, Bimani concluded.

Shihab congratulated the leadership of the university and its students and staff for the remarkable progress it has made in all fronts including education, research, community service and internationalization. He observed that the His Majesty the Sultan has always supported the university to continue its march towards development. Shihab added that he is personally impressed with the results and output of the strategic research projects taken up by SQU researchers and congratulated the researchers for their outstanding efforts. He formally inaugurated the online Research Management System of SQU.

In his address, Dr. Amer Bin Ali Al Rawas, SQU Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies & Research, gave an outline of the research activities of the university, focusing on strategic research projects funded by the university. He also announced four research projects that are qualified for financial assistance through His Majesty the Sultan’s Strategic Research Trust Fund. The four strategic research projects are the following: 1) “From gene expression analysis of Omani breast tumors to biomarkers/candidate gene discovery,” proposed by Dr. Allal Ouhtit of the Department of Genetics at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences; 2) “Economical, social and environmental impacts of marine bio-fouling in the Sultanate of Oman”, proposed by Dr Sergey Dobretsov, Assistant Professor in the Dept of Marine Sciences and Fisheries at the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences; 3) “Potential sources of soil-borne plant pathogenic fungi into farms in Oman”, proposed by Dr Abdullah Al Saadi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences; and 4) “Quality of teachers in public schools in the Sultanate of Oman” proposed by Prof. Maher M. Abu Hilal from the College of Education.

Saif Al Sinani, Director of Research and Innovation Affairs said that the selection of research projects for HM’s strategic research fund involves three stages. The research committees associated with different colleges will forward the proposals to the Research Department. These proposals will be sent for evaluation to at least three external reviewers who are mainly experienced researchers from globally reputed universities abroad. After the evaluation by external reviewers in finished, internal reviewers from ministries and other government organizations from the Sultanate will review the submissions.

Thereafter the principal investigators have to present their proposals before the Research Board of the University. The final selection is done by the Research Board, after considering all aspects and previous evaluations.

After the announcement of the HM projects, the best researchers, teachers, students, technical academic and medical staff was honored. The chief guest distributed certificates of appreciation to the employees and students.

Different colleges at SQU came up with posters pertaining to academic and research projects. Shihab also opened the exhibition. Different colleges at SQU also put up poster exhibitions and other activities to mark the University Day.