Muscat, LEAN initiative for continuous improvement in business environment and doing of business indicators in the Sultanate came as one of the Implementation Support and Follow up Unit (ISFU) interests to support the governmental entities to keep up with the requirements of the initiatives and projects in different economic sectors, in collaboration with different stakeholders.
In June 2019, ISFU signed a memorandum of cooperation with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) to promote cooperation and integration in enhancing and facilitating procedures in business environment sector, benefit from the expertise of the company in this field and exchange knowledge and experience with the relevant governmental entities. This aims to contribute in achieving the targets of enhancing economic diversification sectors.
ISFU has applied LEAN process in its first stage on several procedures related to commencing business and industrial licensing with a group of related ministries and bodies. This stage included Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), Ministry of Manpower (MoMP), Ministry of Housing (MoH), Ministry of Finance (MoF) and Muscat Municipality (MM) as they are concerned with the licenses of business environment or the results of assessing these entities are included in the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of doing business in the Sultanate.
With regard to the progress achieved in this initiative, Eng. Mohammed al-Masroori, the team supervisor of business environment sector at ISFU stated that LEAN process aims at eliminating the unnecessary procedures in initiating commercial activities in the Sultanate, which saves time, effort and money. He further stated that this step has been taken to create an integrated and competitive environment between the commercial activities in the Sultanate and to offer services easily and effectively. The initiative focuses on three main aspects of service that include the number of steps, time and cost for each procedure. In addition, there are mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of these enhancements and expansion in applying them.
He added that ISFU is working on setting up the suitable environment for investment and business through the continuous support and follow up to the relevant entities by enabling them to attract investment and facilitate procedures in doing business in the Sultanate aiming to make it an attractive environment. The impact of that will be reflected on enhancing the Sultanate's ranking in competitiveness reports, as it jumped 10 places in 2020 report for doing business indicators to be in 68th place internationally (out if 190 country) after years of being low ranked.
The application of LEAN emerged from its importance in enhancing the Sultanate's international ranking. Furthermore, the initiative will enhance the levels of KPIs for the processes identified with the related entities and ensure its continuity and enhancement.
Al-Masroori indicated that ISFU has selected these five entities in the first stage (MoCI, MoMP, MoH, MoF, MM) to ensure the effective application of the initiative. ISFU has contacted with the related individuals in the targeted governmental entities and provided a detailed explanation about LEAN process, the programme plan for the first year and coming years, and the mechanism followed and the role of higher management in accelerating the development. The approvals from these entities have been obtained along with their commitment to support the project and enable the team to perform its role. Therefore, the team has anlaysed the current situation to identify the procedures that need to be changed in each entity separately and conduct several meetings to pinpoint the challenges faced. Moreover, the team conducted a four-day intensive training programme for the employees working on the selected projects. They also identified all possible enhancement opportunities in each entity and the mechanism to deal with.
Furthermore, Eng. Nasser bin Khalifa al-Kindi, Supervisor of the initiative from PDO, stated that ISFU and PDO have formed a working team from both entities to follow up the implementation of the process in the ministries through providing a roadmap and an integrated operational plan to ensure applying and measuring the initiative's KPIs. The company has provided high-qualified experts and technicians in LEAN process, as it has a long expertise in this field. The company also works, in cooperation with ISFU, to establish high standards of governance and quality to implement the targets of the project. LEAN process, which is applied in PDO since 10 years, is one of the company's initiatives to face the increasing challenges and costs. It is also keen to convey its experience with the government sectors as part of its social responsibility.
He further added that this initiative has been implemented in cooperation with ISFU with the aim of promoting the shared efforts in exchanging knowledge and experience and support the governmental efforts to facilitate business environment in the Sultanate through facilitating the required procedures to commence commercial activities. This contributes in increasing the attractiveness of the Sultanate in investment locally or internationally.
Eng. Al-Kindi also clarified that LEAN process has targeted the enhancement of a number of procedures in the relevant entities at the first stage. In MoCI, the application of the process resulted in reducing the required time to obtain the building licenses and permits, which include issuing building permit, commencing and completing the building. In MoMP, the process focused on reducing the required time to obtain companies' work permits. The process was also applied in MoH to reduce the time spent in the procedure of providing the service of using the industrial lands for investors. Furthermore, in MoF, the process has enhanced the mechanism that the Ministry uses to obtain the required documents of withdrawal requests from the governmental entities supervising the government projects and reduced the time required to study the requests of the entities regarding the budget.
He also pointed out that at the end of the first stage and after applying the process practically, the time spent in the investment procedures in the industrial sector has been reduced to nearly 75% of the time spent previously.
It is worth mentioning that ISFU provides support to the governmental entities that are in charge of the economic sectors, in the stage of implementing the projects and initiatives. These projects and initiatives have been developed to contribute in establishing a national and sustainable economy through a clear governance system and work methodology that focus on resolving the challenges in cooperation with the relevant entities.
Source: Oman News Agency