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Key forum to review industrial progress.

Muscat: Every February 9, the Sultanate annually marks the Omani Industry Day in commemoration of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said's Royal visit to Al Rusayl Industrial Estate on February 9, 1991. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is keen to celebrate the Omani Industry Day with an annual meeting, and this year's meeting will be held on Sunday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, bringing together Dr Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry with the Omani industrialists and personnel interested in industry. Nahla bint Abdulwahab Al Hamdi, the Director General of Industry, said that the meeting will closely review the latest developments relevant to the industry in the Sultanate and to listen to the opinions of industrialists about these besides taking note of the most important challenges in the path of Omani industry, as well as solutions and possible suggestions to develop the industrial sector. She added that the meeting will consider the most important problems and issues obstructing the industrial sector and posing a hurdle to investors, and will attempt to resolve these issues. It will also answer any queries falling within the prerogatives of the ministry and will refer others to the relevant parties. She also said that one of the important and positive results of such meetings is to build an atmosphere of trust, constructive cooperation and transparency between the private sector and officials at the governmental sector for the benefit of the industrial sector. Referring to the most important strategic industrial foundations in this vital sector, the Director General of Industry said that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will soon update the future industrial strategy in coordination with the Supreme Council for Planning. This will be in line with the Sultanate's future strategy and committee of competent entities has been set up to deal with this issue. As for the contribution of the industrial sector to the Gross Domestic Production (GDP), she said that according to sectoral economic indicators, it has enjoyed a continuous progress in terms of contribution to the GDP that has reached 12 per cent, adding that according to the future vision of the Omani economy 2020, the contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP would be 15 per cent. She further said that the manufacturing industrial sector grew to $3.04 billion in 2012, compared to $2.96 billion in 2011, a progress rate of 2.5 per cent. She added that based on statistics of the National Centre for Statistics and Information, the value of non-oil industrial exports stood at OMR2.3 billion till August 2013. Such exports included mineral products, chemical products, construction material and electrical products. The value of foreign direct investment in manufacturing industries sector stood at OMR1342.4 billion in 2012, contributing 18.3 per cent to the total value of foreign investment, a rise of 24.3 per cent when compared to 2011. The volume of Omani industrial exports for the same year stood at OMR3.594 billion, with a growth rate of 18.5 per cent in 2011. The government is keen on supporting the industrial sector as the data of governmental loans given through the Oman Development Bank (ODB) indicates that the support to the industrial sector in the last five years has been at the third slot, after the agriculture and fisheries sectors with 42 per cent. The total loan portfolio for industrial projects stood at OMR14,843,280 as approved loans for 1,116 projects. About job opportunities offered by the sector, she explained that the opportunities provided through medium and large scale projects in 2010 stood at 20,209 jobs, according to the latest statistics given in the Industrial Statistics Yearbook 2011. Talking about the projects to be implemented for the remaining period of the 8th five-year plan, she said the Sultanate is currently witnessing developmental activities in four free zones at the same time: Al Mazyounah Free Zone, Salalah Free Zone, Sohar Free Zone and A'Duqum Free Zone. She added that the Al Mazyounah Free Zone focuses on attracting projects that are interested in the development of industrial and commercial exchange with the neighbouring countries. The plan contains 17 projects with a total investment of OMR5,590,000. Salalah Free Zone focuses on assembly and light industries resulting from transit (containers) in Salalah port, in addition to some industries depending on gas. Eighteen projects are under construction with a total investment of OMR1.332 billion. Sohar Free Zone focuses primarily on benefiting from the existing major projects in Sohar Industrial port, such as the secondary projects in mining and iron, and petrochemicals, in addition to benefitting from the multi transportations in establishing assembling and storing projects, logistic added value and re-export.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Feb 8, 2014
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