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Key training underway for employees of small and medium enterprises.

Muscat: A training programme is being held for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) employees this week with the aim of promoting their capabilities and enabling them to deliver and produce high quality services and products. The programme, which started on February 23, will last one week, said Salah bin Hilal Al Mwali, Head of the Directorate General of the Development of SMEs, told Times of Oman in an exclusive interview. This will be the second batch of employees to be trained by the Public Authority for SMEs Development, he said, adding that 30 people will be trained in Muscat and another 30 employees will attend the programme in Salalah. Unique services "We have to support SMEs employees both technically and financially. The nation now needs something special so SMEs should be able to deliver unique services," said Al Mwali. He added that the authority is focused on training employees to promote small and medium enterprises and now Omanis are being trained in seven countries, including Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, Singapore, and China. Between January 1, 2012 and November 17, 2013, the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development implemented 45 training and awareness programmes in which 1,831 people participated. Mandatory course On the authority's other measures to promote SMEs, Al Mwali said, "We are in talks with the Ministry of Higher Education and plans to get a mandatory course on SMEs included in the university curriculum." "We make presentations at schools. We have visited some universities." He added that the authority has signed a number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with several countries, including Turkey and Malaysia. The authority is also working with the banks to deploy five per cent of the commercial loans stipulated (by the Central Bank of Oman) for SMEs, he said, adding that the SMEs are now receiving 2.6 per cent of commercial loan from banks. Al Mwali said that the government has realised that the SMEs sector is the "backbone" of the economy and is providing good support to these units. "If they (SMEs) do not take this opportunity today, it will be very difficult for them to take it tomorrow." Al Mwali also noted that small and medium units can bridge the gap between large companies and small ones. "There is no link. So we have to create the link between large and small enterprises." SMEs can bridge the gap between the poor and the rich, he added. "We have achieved the micro-level targets," but more efforts should be made to remove the barriers in the way of the development of SMEs," said Al Mwali. "The sky is the limit for us," he further added.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Feb 23, 2014
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