Oman plans $50bn infrastructure projects
Muscat, October 30, 2013
Oman will see a massive surge of investments worth more than $50 billion from both the private and public sectors to boost the Sultanate’s economy, according to a senior government official.
An estimated $20 billion will be spent on transportation infrastructure, including the Oman National Railway project; the on-going and planned Sohar, RAs Al Hadd, Duqm and Adam Airports as well as Muscat and Salalah Airports’ expansion and the work on the Batina coastal Road and express ways, said Ahmed bin Hassan Al Dheeb, the undersecretary at the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
Al Dheeb was addressing delegates on the first day of the Oman Projects Forum 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Muscat on Wednesday.
"Approximately $17 billion worth of projects will be poured into the oil and gas sector, while another $13 billion worth of investments will be made in the manufacturing and industrial sector," he stated.
These investment in mega projects will help create new opportunities “within the country rather than letting the outcome of such projects merely turn into foreign exchange outflows, and the creation of jobs and economic activity abroad,” he added.
According to Al-Dheeb, billions more will be invested in the tourism, logistics, and power and water sectors to ensure the sultanate’s competitiveness.
In his presentation, Abraham Akkawi, the partner and head of infrastructure and PPP Advisory Services, Mena (Ernst & Young) said, “Oman has the right ingredients to become a logistics hub, with its good transportation infrastructure, labour and geographical location; but this can only become a reality if both the government and private sector work together.”
Currently the logistics sector contributes less than 5 per cent of the GDP as per 2010 and Oman is #62 on the Global Logistics Performance Index behind other GCC countries; therefore diversification from non-oil based economy is a primary objective and requires significant planning in the form of investments in infrastructure and projects.
"Oman Projects Forum’s first day has begun and thus far it has been excellent with top quality presentations from senior government officials and the private sector," said Edmund O’Sullivan, the chairman of MEED Events, the event organisers.
"We hope to be able to rise to the challenge Al-Dheeb has given us and the delegates in attendance to submit proposals on how projects in Oman can be a source/road map and increase in-country value addition," he added.
According to Omani authorities, any significant investments should achieve three objectives: help diversify the economy and leverage substantial hydrocarbon revenues to build a sustainable future; educate, train and provide jobs for the Omani youth; as well as enhance domestic economic activity and entrepreneurship.
"Having spent a significant period exploring business operations in the sultanate, I’ve found that the Oman projects conference is invaluable for understanding government strategy in developing infrastructure and non infrastructure related developments," remarked David Clifton of Faithful & Gould, a key provider of project and cost management services in Oman.
"The conference provides a fantastic platform for both knowledge-sharing and networking with Omani public and private sector levels," he added.
Al Dheeb pointed out that Oman’s development has also seen a growing number of SMEs in the country.
"A number of measures had been identified at the SME symposium that will boost the sector, including the establishment of an SME Authority, the Al Rafd Fund and the SME Development Fund to create business opportunities for them," said the top government official.
"These steps are expected to result in the creation of a vibrant SME sector in the country. Thus SMEs will in turn form the basis for our vigorous drive toward enhanced in country value. We look at the SME sector as the vehicle for the enhanced in country value,” he added.
The forum is being supported by the National Bank of Oman as strategic partner; Oman Development Bank as SME Financial Partner; Ernst &Young as Knowledge Partner; and Hill International as conference sponsor.
Muna Mohsin Baqer A. Latiff, the manager (Business Development) at Oman Development Bank: "It gives us great pleasure to be a part of and sponsor the forum and become its SME financial partner. This annual event organized by Meed is without a doubt one of the main business events to be held in Oman."
"ODB’s participation in the same for the past two years has reflected the pioneering role it plays in Oman to finance up and coming SME projects in the country. Moreover it props up its long term strategy to stay as a stable Omani governmental bank that grants developmental loans to Omani investors in hopes of assisting them in starting new projects in the country and expanding existing ones," added Latiff.-TradeArabia News Service