MUSCAT: The government has been paying enormous importance to industrial sector being one of the key economic and development pillars in the Sultanate, said Hilal bin Hamad al Hassani, CEO of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE), on the occasion of Industry Day which falls today.
“In coincidence with the Industry Day this year, contracts are signed to develop Samayil Industrial Estate in an area exceeding 7 million square metres costing more than RO 39 million, and another contract to develop the seventh phase in Sohar Industrial Estate in an area of 8 million square metres at a cost of more than RO 19 million,” Al Hassani said. He added that work is under way on assigning more tenders to develop additional space in the estates. Development operations will commence at Al Rusayl, Nizwa, Knowledge Oasis Muscat and Al Mazyounnah Free Zone. In addition, development of phase 3 to 6 at Sohar Industrial Estate and the second phase of Al Mazyounnah Free Zone will be completed.
He pointed out that work is also under way for preparing designs for the master plan of Ibri Logistics Area, which will be one of vital areas in the Sultanate due to its strategic location, symbolised in connecting the Sultanate with Saudi Arabia through the new border. Al Hassani emphasised that the expansion of industrial estates comes in line with the growth witnessed by the PEIE.
“Significant growth rates have been seen in the various industrial estates. The growth rate in the size of private sector investment has surpassed 106 per cent from 2007 to 2014. If we compare the year 2013 up to the first half of 2014, the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates achieved notable growth in the volume of investments touching around RO 657 million, and marking a growth of 27 per cent. Therefore, by the end of the first half of 2014, the volume of total investment in PEIE has reached RO 4,949 million, and the outcome of local contributions reached around 57.5 per cent. On the other hand, the contribution of foreign investors has amounted to around 42.2 per cent. The available statistical indicators towards the end of 2014 show an increase in the size of total investment at more than RO 5 billion,” he added.
He further said that the number of localised projects has doubled to more than three times compared to 2007. Further, the number of projects in PEIE rose from 1,409 in 2013 to 1,468 by the end of the first half of 2014, marking an average growth rate of 4.2 per cent.
He pointed out that PEIE has maintained an increasing range of efforts to develop and improve the business environment in the Sultanate through a package of objectives and strategies aimed at contributing to a sustainable and comprehensive development through attracting foreign and domestic investment.
“Additionally, PEIE paid a significant attention to job generation by offering more than 36,000 jobs at various industrial estates. During the first half of 2014, PEIE provided 3,955 jobs, of which 2,267 are national cadre. Thus, the Omanization ratio touched 35 per cent by the end of 2013 and increased to 38 per cent by the end of the first half of 2014.
“These efforts come in collaboration with private companies operating in the industrial estates keeping in pace with the important partnership between the public and private sectors to attain a comprehensive and sustainable development,” Al Hasani stated.
Besides the industrial estates, major achievements have also been noted in the Knowledge Oasis Muscat and Al Mazyounnah Free Zone. “More than 227,000 sqm has been leased in KOM and the occupancy rate has reached 39 per cent. The number of operating companies in KOM has touched 148 by the end of the first half of 2014, marking an increase of 15 companies in comparison with the year 2013, and provided around 3,100 jobs by the end of the first half of 2014, marking an increase of 950 jobs, compared to 2013.
The Omanisation rate in KOM has exceeded 52 per cent and the volume of private sector investment has touched RO 63.3 million, with an increase rate of RO 30.3 million from 2013,” he said.
He added: “As for Al Mazyounnah Free Zone, the leased space has touched 3.081 million sqm, with an occupancy rate reaching 77 per cent. Moreover, the number of operating companies has reached to 39 by the end of the first half of 2014 and the volume of private sector investment has touched RO 17.6 million by the end of the first half of 2014.”
In coincidence with the Industry Day, PEIE is organising a variety of events to promote the locally manufactured products and underscore the competent capabilities of the products to compete locally and internationally.
These events aim at promoting and generating awareness on the locally-manufactured products to mark their presence in all governorates of the Sultanate.
SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER