The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has announced the formal launch of a landmark drive to inventory all state-owned assets in a bid to unlock further socioeconomic value from these diverse and sizable holdings.
The initiative, dubbed the National Assets Register, will encompass the broad spectrum of government-owned holdings and resources of potential value – monetary or intrinsic. The list will include everything from transport infrastructure and buildings to hydrocarbon resources, historical monuments and even intangible assets such as Intellectual Property.
“It is an integrated central system that takes full account of government assets and helps to draft a strategy to ensure a centralised management of the assets, as well as to maximise their efficiency and returns,” said the Ministry of Finance.”
“This can be achieved through the optimal use of such assets in a way that generate more financial resources for the State Budget,” it further stated in its latest news bulletin on Oman’s fiscal performance.
According to experts, the initiative will help boost Oman’s international credentials as a modernizing economy with institutional mechanisms that, among other things, help with the prudent management of its national resources for the ultimate good of its people.
Part of the goal, according to the Ministry, is to catalog all state-owned assets – financial and non-financial – and ascertain their actual value. Additionally, the effort would help in the identification of government assets for privatization or development via the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) route, the Ministry stated.
In addition to state-owned financial assets, the register will also cover the country’s Oil & Gas resources, as well as hydrocarbon assets transferred to the government under Energy Production Sharing Agreements.
Notable additions to the register also include government land, existing buildings and those under construction, construction machines and equipment, furniture and office equipment, state-owned IT and communications systems, and transport assets. Heritage assets, of which Oman has a prodigious supply, will be inventoried as well. So will intangible assets, such as patents, software, brands and IP rights.
Importantly, the National Assets Register will strengthen “transparency and accountability” in the overall stewardship of state assets, the Ministry said. Furthermore, it will improve decision-making that enhances the efficiency of public service delivery.
The scope of the database will also include projects implemented under the PPP model, and government-owned assets operated by entities that form part of Oman Investment Authority (OIA), the integrated sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman.
The inventory process will be phased, starting with the assets of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and Muscat Municipality. In the next phase of its rollout, an online portal of the National Assets Register will be launched, the Ministry added.