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Currency and Cost of Living

Oman - Currency and Cost of Living

The currency of Oman is the Omani Riyal, 1 Omani Riyal is worth approximately £1.74 sterling. The Riyal is divided into 1000 baiza and all currency is available in coins and notes of various denominations.

The cost of living when compared to western countries is similar depending on the lifestyle you choose to have. Buying goods that are recognised brand names cost more than the local brands which are usually just as good quality and are sometimes even better.

The cost of housing is also on an equal footing to the west and can generally be quite high, although some companies offer places to live included in their job package or even a housing allowance each month in lieu of accommodation.

Although costs are comparable with the western countries living expenses, the fact that salaries in Oman are tax free and there is very little tax on goods and services makes the cost of living that little more affordable. Electrical items such as televisions, cameras, and computers are usually less expensive as there are very low import duties in Oman.

Expats will find that they need to have a car to travel around Oman, as it is not so easy to just walk to the shops. Costs of cars can be cheaper to buy than rent due to the lack of tax but insurances and running costs must be taken into account when budgeting for the living expenses.

Utilities are reasonably priced as they are subsidised by the government although summer will see costs soar with the increased usage in the air conditioning units.

Usual business hours in Oman are Saturday to Wednesday 08:00-13:00 and 16:00 to 19:00. If shops or businesses open on a Thursday then it is normally just for the morning 08:00 to 13:00. These hours are subject to change during Ramadan. Government office hours tend to be slightly different at Saturday to Wednesday 07:30 to 14:30 only. Everywhere closes on a Friday.

Consumer rights in Oman are very informal; if a problem arises it is always best to sort it out with a compromise. The Oman Association for Consumer Protection is always there to help if a compromise cannot be reached, but it is worth bearing in mind that it is best to resolve a problem without going to court as proceedings can be lengthy and extremely costly. Enlisting the help of a local friend to aid negotiations is also a good idea.

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