Sultan Qaboos: Freedom of expression is guaranteed for all, raising standards of living top priority for the current stage

Major cabinet reshuffle in Sultanate

Marches express support loyalty for nation, Sultan Qaboos

Omani judiciary to investigate recent incidents

Sultan Qaboos receives Emir of Kuwait, Vice-President of UAE

Agreement on wheat silos in Sohar, Salalah signed

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said on Monday effected a major revamp of the government by inducting new blood in the Council of Ministers on Monday.

His Majesty picked five members of the Shura Council as ministers. His Majesty also abolished the Ministry of National Economy. A committee shall be formed by the Council of Ministers to manage the distribution of its prerogatives, allocations, assets and employees.

Omanis welcomed the government revamp by their beloved leader and founder of Blessed Renaissance.

His Majesty issued eight Royal Decrees.

Royal Decree No. 31/ 2011 restructures the Council of Ministers.

Article One: Restructures the Council of Ministers under our chairmanship as the following:

>> Sayyid Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers.

>> Sayyid Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture.

>> Sayyid Khalid Bin Hilal Bin Saud Al Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court.

>> Lt. Gen. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Numani, Minister of the Royal Office.

>> Sayyid Badr Bin Saud Bin Harib Al Busaidi, Minister Responsible for Defense Affairs.

>> Sayyid Hamoud Bin Faisal Bin Said Al Busaidi, Minister of Interior.

>> Yousuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs.

>> Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Bin Zaher Al Hinai, Minister of Justice.

>> Darwish Bin Ismail Bin Ali Al Balushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs.

>> Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al Salmi, Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs.

>> Dr. Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Saif Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas.

>> Hamed Bin Mohammed Bin Mohsin Al Rashdi, Minister of Information.

>> Dr. Rawiyah Bint Saud Bin Ahmed Al Busaidiyah, Minister of Higher Education.

>> Eng. Ali Bin Masoud Bin Ali Al Sunaidy, Minister of Sports Affairs.

>> Sheikh Mohammed Bin Marhoun Bin Ali Al Ma’amari, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar.

>> Sheikh Saif Bin Mohammed Bin Saif Al Shabibi, Minister of Housing.

>> Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Abdullah Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower.

>> Dr. Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Obaid Al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health.

>> Dr. Madiha Bint Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Shibaniyah, Minister of Education.

>> Ahmed Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Shuhi, Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources.

>> Dr. Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Salim Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications.

>> Sheikh Khalid Bin Omar Bin Said Al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Service.

>> Sheikh Sa’ad Bin Mohammed Bin Said Al Mardhouf Al Sa’eedi, Minister of Commerce and Industry.

>> Sayyid Saud Bin Hilal Bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of Muscat.

>> Dr. Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Said Al Sa’eedi, Minister of Legal Affairs.

>> Sheikh Abdulmalik Bin Abdullah Bin Ali Al Khalili, Minister of Tourism.

>> Dr. Fuad Bin Ja’afar Bin Mohammed Al Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

>> Mohammed Bin Salim Bin Said Al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs.

>> Sheikh Mohammed Bin Said Bin Saif Al Kalbani, Minister of Social Development.

Article two: The decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 32/ 2011 appoints Secretary-General for the Council of Ministers.

Article one: Appoints Sheikh Al Fadhl Bin Mohammed Bin Ahmed Al Harthy as the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers.

Article two: The decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 33/ 2011 appoints chairman for the State Audit and Administrative Institution.

Article one: Appoints Sheikh Nassir Bin Hilal Bin Nassir Al Ma’awali as the chairman of the State Audit and Administrative Institution with minister’s rank.

Article two: The decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 34/ 2011 appoints chairman of the Tender Board.

Article one: Appoints Dr. Rasheed Bin Al Safi Bin Khamis Al Huraibi as the chairman of the Tender Board with minister’s rank.

Article two: The decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 35/ 2011 appoints adviser at the Diwan of Royal Court.

Article one: Appoints Eng. Mohsen Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al Sheikh as the Adviser at the Diwan of Royal Court with minister’s rank.

Article two: The decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 36/2011 appoints adviser for the Ministry of Finance.

Article one: Appoints Dr. Abdulmalik Bin Abdullah Bin Zahir Al Hinai as an adviser for the Ministry of Finance with the same rank and financial allocations.

Article two: The decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 37/ 2011 appointing undersecretaries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Article one: Appoints Dr. Hamad Bin Said Bin Suleiman Al Ofi as the Undersecretary for Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Article two: Appoints Dr. Is’haq Bin Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Ruqaishi as the Undersecretary for Agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Article three: The decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Royal Decree No. 38/ 2011 abolishes the Ministry of National Economy.

Article one: Abolishes the Ministry of National Economy and a committee shall be formed by the Council of Ministers to manage distribution of its prerogatives, allocations, assets and employees.

Article two: The decree comes into force from its date of issue.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Manpower continued to recruit candidates in government and the private sector on Monday.

HE Said Bin Salim Al Mazidi, Advisor of the Manpower Minister for Legal Affairs, said the ministry has earmarked specified centers for registration of jobseekers in various wilayats.

In Sohar, protesters at the Globe Roundabout welcomed the cabinet revamp with great enthusiasm. They sang the national anthem after hearing the news and shouted “viva Oman and viva His Majesty the Sultan.”

The sit-in is continuing at the venue.

The protesters staging a sit-in at the Shura Council expressed their happiness with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said’s Royal Decrees and also expressed their loyalty and gratitude to His Majesty.

At the same time, they demanded that corrupt ministers and other officials be made accountable and expand Shura Council’s powers.

They also demanded improvement in the living conditions of the Omani citizens through increasing opportunities for higher education by opening universities as well as by increasing doles.

They called for a comprehensive study of the low-income citizens and set up funds such as marriage fund.

They pointed out to the importance of the Omanisation in the key posts in the private sector.

On Monday, protesters at the office of the Wali of Bausher expressed their joy and happiness for the comprehensive ministerial change and told Oman Tribune that they wanted improvement in the living conditions of citizens through increasing the salaries in addition to improving education.

They said that their legitimate demands were aimed at fighting corruption and that their sit-in was a peaceful one.

They renewed their loyalty and gratitude to His Majesty the Sultan.

When they received the news of the cabinet revamp, protesters at the Globe Roundabout in Sohar hailed in joy.

They played the National Anthem after hearing the news of the Royal Decrees, and they repeatedly chanted words hailing Oman and His Majesty. They repeated ‘Viva Oman and viva His Majesty the Sultan’. Sweets and juices were distributed and they slaughtered some cows.

One of the protesters said the relation between the protesters and the ROP has to be normal and both the sides should overcome their differences. He said that police personnel are Omani citizens who have a mission for homeland.

Ali Bin Said Al Ghaithi, one of the spokesmen of the protesters, lauded the ministerial changes and thanked His Majesty the Sultan for his hospitality and positive reaction to the demands of the people. He also said the roundabout will not be opened till all the demands were fulfilled, which includes salary, living standards, marriage fund and rescheduling of debts. “When the roundabout is open for traffic, we will stage a loyalty march from Sohar to Muscat” he added.

Amani Al Kithari, one of the graduates seeking a job, hailed the big changes, which will open the way towards achieving all demands.

Ali Bin Ahmed Al Badi appreciated the initiative describing it as a positive step which reflects that His Majesty the Sultan always takes people’s side and always accords top priority to the demands of citizens.

The protesters in the Wilayat of Sur welcomed the Royal Decrees of His Majesty the Sultan saying His Majesty had responded to the demands of his sons and his promise to fulfill it through reforms and improving the living conditions. They prayed to Allah the Almighty to grant His Majesty health and renewed their loyalty and gratitude to their leader.

The sit-in in the Wilayat of Sur entered the eighth day on Monday with the hope of achieving their demands, although some of these demands had already achieved. Meanwhile, the protesters held cultural programs that contribute in meeting the general aim of the peaceful sit-in.

They said the claims are common and represent all the wilayats as they are the aspirations of the citizens and in the interest of the country.

Protesters in the Governorate of Dhofar confirmed that they will continue their sit-in till all the demands are met. They also expressed satisfaction and happiness over the Royal Decrees on revamping the government.

Protesters thanked His Majesty and renewed their loyalty to him.

Citizens flocked to the police department in Nizwa from the different wilayats of Dakhiliyah region to register in ROP. The ROP has recently announced the availability of 10,000 job opportunities in various departments following the Royal Orders of His Majesty to ensure 50,000 job opportunities in various private and public sector establishments in the country.

The people of the Wilayat of Sohar appealed to the protesters sitting at Globe roundabout to open the way and help in bringing the situation back to normal.

The protesters at the ‘Reform Square,’ by blocking traffic, have made life difficult for people in the area as it is opened only for four hours daily.

Even as the people said they sympathized with the protesters at the roundabout, they appealed to open it to prove their noble goals and peaceful intend.

Many companies have stopped sending commodities to the wilayat as they feel threatened by the situation in the area and as a consequence prices of some goods in the wilayat has soared.

Some of the officials from the private sector operating in the industrial area who took part in an OCCI meeting in Sohar were worried about the unstable security situation in the wilayat.

Thousands of Omanis took out a procession in Muscat on Tuesday thanking His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said for accepting the popular demands of the people. They also deplored the vandalism and violence in Sohar and other parts of the Sultanate.

People, who came from all parts of the Sultanate after getting messages on mobile phones and social networking sites, first converged outside the Grand Mosque at 4pm and later took out a procession around the mosque, chanting nationalist and patriotic slogans in support of His Majesty the Sultan. They said the various reforms announced by His Majesty the Sultan over a period of time have immensely benefited the people.

People carried banners which said ‘Thank you Sultan for accepting our demands,’ ‘We are with you till the last drop of our blood’, ‘Sultan, we are proud of you,’ Sultan, there is no dispute and no trouble,’ ‘Our lives are for you,’ ‘We are proud of you year after year.’ They also thanked him for the reforms, which were announced including the grant for jobseekers and employment to 50,000 citizens. Hamoud Al Namani, who works for Qatar Airways, came all the way from Doha to participate in the procession.

“I am simply overwhelmed by the response of His Majesty the Sultan to the demands of the people. Now, it is the duty of the people to thank him,” he said. He said His Majesty has promised to create a number of jobs and the private sector should also chip in by creating more jobs.

Manal Al Busaidi, a receptionist in a private firm, said the people see His Majesty as the sole benefactor and supporter of the people of Oman. His Majesty the Sultan has time and again proved that his concern is the welfare of the people of the country. “Our Sultan has made the country an ideal welfare state where every citizen’s issue is addressed,” she said.

Majid Al Rahbi, an AC technician, said, “As I grew up, I saw the country developing and common people getting the benefits. My family and I feel proud to get an opportunity to thank His Majesty the Sultan for his services to the nation.”

“It’s against our culture to indulge in vandalism and violence. And violence is certainly not the solution. Over a period of time, His Majesty the Sultan has announced a number of reforms for the welfare of the citizens,” Moosa Al Lawati, a student, said.

Elsewhere in Muscat, traffic moved at a snail’s pace in and around Ruwi area on Tuesday morning as several Omani jobseekers thronged the Ministry of Manpower office to register their names for the grants announced by His Majesty the Sultan.

Meanwhile, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said on Thursday met HH Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jabir Al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the UAE, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces and HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs of the UAE.

The meeting at Hisn Al Shumoukh reviewed the strong brotherly relations binding the three countries and ways of enhancing these relations in all fields for the interests of the people of the region and in order to promote fields of mutual coordination and cooperation of the GCC.

The UAE delegation conveyed greetings of HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, to His Majesty along with his best wishes of good health, happiness and a long life and the Omani people continuous progress under the wise leadership of His Majesty.

His Majesty expressed his greetings and appreciation for Khalifa Al Nahyan along with his best wishes of good health, happiness and a long life. His Majesty wished the UAE people continuous prosperity under Khalifa Al Nahyan’s wise leadership.

The meeting was attended by HH Sayyid Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said, HH Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al Salim Al Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kuwait, the ambassador of the UAE to the Sultanate, the ambassador of Kuwait to the Sultanate and the accompanying delegations.

Earlier, the delegates were seen off at the Royal airport by Haitham. The ambassadors of the UAE and Kuwait were present.

On the other hand, an agreement with Liftaris Atharnios Tami was signed at the Commerce and Industry Ministry on Saturday to provide engineering consultancy and supervisory services for the construction of wheat silos in Sohar and Salalah in a bid to secure the wheat reserve for the Sultanate.

The agreement was signed by HE Mohammed Bin Nasser Al Khusaibi, Commerce and Industry Minister and the Executive Manager of Liftaris Atharnios Tami. The agreement includes the consultancy works for preparing the engineering designs, provision of the supervisory services for all stages of the project, including supply and installation of the metal silos (200,000 tons in Sohar and 100,000 tons in Salalah), the preliminary and civil works in the two areas, supply of cereals vacuum machine and installation of belt conveyors in the proposed silos.

Dr. Rashid Bin Salim Al Masrouri, Chairman of the Public Authority for Stores and Food Reserves (PASFR), said the construction of these silos will help in securing the availability of raw wheat for Oman Flour Mills SAOG, and Salalah Flour Mills SAOG. This will ensure part of the food security and the wheat reserve.

He hoped the two projects will ensure stability in the market by availing additional quantities of wheat. He said there was a trend to hoard by rice and sugar stores. Next week, the Tender Board is expected to open the bids for the construction of stores in two locations in the Sultanate. Work is under way now to implement the central fish market in Al Fulaij area in the Wilayat of Barka.

It includes places for refrigeration to increase the availability of fish in the local market. Rashid Masrouri said the PASFR is working mainly to avail sufficient quantities of commodities during the emergency periods.

They also play a role in maintaining balance of prices at the market during crisis and ensuring no price hike during such periods.

He also said there were other agencies, such as, the Commerce and Industry Ministry, which maintains coordination with the private sector to ensure there was no increase in prices and maintaining them at certain levels so that they are affordable.

It was attended by HE Ahmed Bin Sulaiman Al Maimani, Undersecretary of Commerce and Industry Ministry and other officials.