Qaboos seems to just get bored sometimes and decides to reorganize his cabinet. The fact that this is ahead of Shura elections, as noted, is of little importance as the council is a consultative body with little real power besides questioning ministers. Of greater note is that no major ministries were altered. Qatabi has been in and out of the Shura presidency a number of times now…he does have some experience with the power sector, which may hold significance since electricity is now getting its own ministry.
MUSCAT — A new chairman for the Majlis Ash’shura, the council of people’s representatives currently preparing for next month’s countrywide elections, and two new ministries, one for environment and the other for fisheries, were among high-level changes in Oman’s government announced here yesterday by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
Royal decrees promulgated by the Omani monarch also reshuffled the cabinet with several ministers getting new portfolios. However, there were no changes at the ministries of economy, oil and gas, foreign affairs, defence, education, health and labour.
A new ‘Public Authority for Electricity and Water’ has been created. The former ministry of housing, electricity and water will now be known as ‘Ministry of Housing’.
Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Isa’ee, previously a state adviser, becomes the Chairman of the 83-member Majlis Ash’shura, replacing Shaikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Qatabi. Shaikh Abdullah was appointed ‘State Adviser’.
The Majlis, considered as the lower chamber of parliament, will elect new members for a four-year term in an open ballot on October 27.
Sultan Qaboos established two new ministries — ‘Environment and Climate Affairs’ and ‘Fisheries’ — bifurcating the existing ministries of municipalities, environment and water resources and agriculture and fisheries.
All assets and employees working in the environment and fisheries departments of the undivided ministries will be transferred to the new ministries with their existing grades and financial entitlements, a decree said.
Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Harthy, Minister of Transport and Communications, is the new Civil Service Minister in place of Shaikh Hilal bin Khalid Al Ma’awali, who was appointed member of the state council, the nominated upper chamber. Shaikh Mohammed bin Ali Al Qatabi, the former Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, takes over as the Minister of Fisheries, and Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal Al Busaidi, Secretary-general of the Council of Ministers, was named Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs.
Sultan Qaboos designated Dr Khamis bin Mubarak Al Alawi as Minister of Transport and Communications; Shaikh Salim bin Hilal Al Khalili, Minister of Agriculture; Shaikh Abdullah bin Salim bin A’amir Al Rowas, Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources; Shaikh Mohammed bin Marhoon Al Ma’amari, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar; and Shaikh Saif bin Mohammed bin Saif Al Shabibi, Minister of Housing.
Sayyid Khalid bin Hilal Al Busaidi will be the new Secretary-general of the Council of Ministers with the rank of a minister.
Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Mahrouqi was appointed chairman of the newly-established Public Authority for Electricity and Water with an under-secretary’s rank.
A decree said all powers, assets and financial allocations related to electricity and water, together with employees, would be transferred to the authority from the Ministry of Housing, Electricity and Water. – KT