How can we jumpstart the economy and re-open businesses while COVID-19 is still with us, with health and safety in mind? (Please include ideas for the private sector and/or feedback for the public sector.)
An effective method of supporting the economy during this phase is for companies to introduce more capabilities for e-commerce. This would of course depend on the type of business. Businesses which deal with sale of goods can perhaps more easily develop a robust e-commerce system than a services-based company.
With respect to government, again migrating to providing more services online would ensure a base level of functionality during times of crisis – the good news is that a great number of government services are already available online, and the government has been rapidly responding to the crisis to develop it’s e-government service offering.
Another suggestion to support SMEs would be to allow individual/freelance entrepreneurs to obtain licenses allowing them to carry out their economic activities without the need to rent an office. This would reduce the financial barrier to entry for small-scale businesses and could generate a good amount of economic activity, whilst also increasing the number of self-employed people in Oman. This would also mean that some SMEs could continue to operate remotely during times like these.
Finally, more robust monitoring of occupational health and safety standards may be needed.