Public-private partnership essential for diversification

MUSCAT: His Majesty the Sultan’s directives to devise plans aimed at achieving economic diversification and attracting more investments as well as activating public-private partnership are welcomed by business community.

They affirmed that Oman boasts multitude of investment potentials and promising sectors for investments. Executives of business establishments who were interviewed by Oman Arabic newspaper, sister publication of the Observer, said that there are some requirements to be taken on priority basis to boost investments and activate investment such as constant amendments to

some legislations and facilitating procedures. They also stressed the importance of boosting mutual confidence between the government and the private sector, and address issues which hinder the private sector limit its ability to expand particularly at times of social and economic instability which occur from time to time.

The business leaders also called for review of the performance of various free zones which were offered government incentives, but failed to meet the desired targets, and saw limited investments.

Saeed bin Saleh al Kiyumi, Chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), called for strategic partnership between the government and the OCCI which is the representative of the private sector in all matters pertaining to economic growth in general and those relating to trade and investment in particular, and also in the field of human resources as regards training and employment of the national workforce.

The private sector has developed both qualitatively and quantitatively over the last years with 221,000 companies registered at the OCCI by the end of December, 2011.

“The private investment has shifted from the domestic and regional domain to wider international level which added further challenges besides other problems relating to economic crisis in the world economy to which the private sector is linked,” Al Kiyumi said.

The government should understand the developing and changing nature of the private sector within real partnership.

The private sector is committed to its partnership with the government as this facilitates in achieving the set targets for economic growth while meeting the requirements and obligations of each party.

“To achieve desired results, we need to start amending laws and legislations pertaining to trade and economy, and the OCCI should be involved in drafting new laws to arrive at an agreeable formula which is capable of achieving the development goals in general and the economic growth targets in particular,” Al Kiyumi added.

Dr Ibrahim bin Baqir al Ajmi, head of the OCCI real estate development committee, said the Sultanate is considered an excellent destination for investments owing to its political stability in addition to the investment potentials being offered for international investors, however, this is not enough to attract investments unless the foreign investment laws are amended.

There is also a need to facilitate the movement of profit and capital by investors.

“We should focus on heavy industry and productive sectors and modern technologies as these sectors provide job opportunities for the national youth. Procedures should be made easy and fast and to get bureaucratic delays and hindrances should be avoided,” he added.

SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER

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