Ahmed bin Hassan al Dheeb, Under-Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, says Oman will see a massive surge of investments – worth over $50 billion – from both the private and public sectors to boost the Sultanate's economy.
Addressing delegates on the first day of the Oman Projects Forum 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Muscat, Al Dheeb says the 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."
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 Batinah coastal road and expressway.
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.
According to Al Dheeb, billions more will be invested in the tourism, logistics, and power and water sectors to ensure the Sultanate's competitiveness.
Abraham Akkawi, Partner and Head of Infrastructure and PPP Advisory Services, MENA, Ernst & Young, in his presentation says, "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. 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," says Edmund O'Sullivan, Chairman, MEED Events, organisers of the Oman Projects Forum 2013.
Omani authorities say 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.
Al Dheeb noted 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.
Oman Daily Observer