Special Feature

Royal Decrees of 2023: The Year in Review

The year 2023 had some of the biggest legal developments in Oman in recent years, with the promulgation of many critical laws such as the Labour Law, the Social Protection Law, the Maritime Law, and many more. This blog post provides an overview of the most significant royal decrees that came out this year.



Royal decrees use the term “System” to refer to legal frameworks that govern the operation of government entities. In 2023, three new systems came out: The System of the Khazaen Economic City, the System of the Social Protection Fund, and the System of the Military and Security Services Pension Fund. There was also an amendment to the System of the Police College.



A single new government entity was created in 2023: The Oman Across Ages Museum under the royal patronage of the Sultan. The new Organisational Structure of the Foreign Ministry was also adopted. However, the most important change to the way the government conducts its business is represented by Royal Decree 73/2023, which transferred the competences of contract review from the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs to the Secretariat General of the Tender Board. Additionally, the Development Bank, a company wholly owned by the government which mainly provides soft loans to domestic companies, was also restructured by Royal Decree 84/2023.



When necessary, royal decrees are issued to declare public benefit status for government projects to expropriate private land within the designated project area. Six royal decrees were issued to declare public benefit status. Five of them relate to the construction of dams, showing the government’s commitment to protecting against flood risks, and the remaining decree relates to the construction of road infrastructure.



According to the provisions of the Oil and Gas Law and the Mineral Resources Law, the approval of petroleum and mining concession agreements requires a royal decree to be issued. In 2023, it is notable that four royal decrees approved mining concession agreements, whereas no royal decrees were issued approving brand-new petroleum agreements. This suggests a strategic shift in the government’s approach to resource management and economic diversification. Furthermore, four royal decrees were issued approving the transfer of petroleum concessions.



Throughout this year, multiple royal decrees were issued to make key appointments. Two new undersecretaries were appointed: The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Investment Promotion for Investment Promotion, and the Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry for Administrative and Financial Affairs. Two royal decrees were enacted to appoint judges to the Supreme Court. This year also witnessed the appointment of the new members of Majlis Al-Dawla and the Oman Human Rights Commission, as the term of the past members ended. Moreover, Royal Decree 78/2023 was issued, which mandates that government employees take an oath prior to commencing their duties after they are appointed.



Omani nationality is granted, revoked, and reinstated by royal decree. This year, three royal decrees were issued granting Omani nationality, and one royal decree was issued reinstating it.



In addition to the categories detailed above, there were eight royal decrees issued on other critical topics, one of them being Royal Decree 23/2023, the most popular decree of the year, which streamlines the process of Omani citizens marrying foreigners. The Minister of Finance was also granted the authority to grant tax exemptions by Royal Decree 80/2023. Two new embassies were established for the Sultanate of Oman: One in Hungary and the other one in Australia. Two royal decrees were issued that relate to investment, Royal Decree 10/2023 Allocating Some Lands for the Purposes of Renewable Energy and Clean Hydrogen Projects. Starlink was also given a licence to build and operate satellite infrastructure and to provide telecom services.